News Releases from Region 06
Oklahoma City receives additional $500,000 from EPA to clean up environmental hazards
Communities Nationwide Receive $5.35 Million to Redevelop Contaminated Brownfield Sites
DALLAS (June 7, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today selected Oklahoma City as one of 11 existing Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) recipients to receive a part of $5.35 million in supplemental funding. Oklahoma City received $500,000 to help continue its work cleaning up contaminated brownfields properties.
“Oklahoma City has one of the most robust and successful brownfields programs in the country,’ said Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman. ‘We are eager to put these supplemental funds to work and watch them generate jobs and spur economic growth.”
Congressman Steve Russell (OK-05) commented on Oklahoma City receiving this grant, stating “Ultimately, actions such as these help us be good stewards of the environment and can even save money before a situation becomes worse.”
“We appreciate the EPA for their continued support of Oklahoma City’s Brownfield’s program,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. “The funds go far to help turn around problem properties with a history of environmental issues, particularly in our urban core.”
“I am excited Oklahoma City has been selected as a Brownfields RLF Program recipient. This program has been extraordinarily beneficial to Oklahoma City and our state. Several Oklahoma City landmarks and blighted areas in the city have been revitalized using funds from the program resulting in increased job opportunities and economic growth. The Brownfields RLF Program has made quite a difference in Oklahoma City, and this new funding will have a positive impact on Oklahoma City’s continued success,” said Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Scott Thompson.
Oklahoma City has an impressive history of leveraging brownfields funding into meaningful, sustained economic development. City landmarks such as the Skirvin Hotel, the Dowell Center and more were restored with help from EPA assessment and cleanup grants. This commitment to results extends across Oklahoma, with the state Department of Commerce reporting a gain of 2,192 jobs and more than $85 million in retail sales on former brownfields properties since 1998. Redevelopment also typically improves efficiency by using existing infrastructure, rather than an undeveloped site that likely requires more infrastructure to be built and maintained.
The Brownfields RLF program supports EPA’s commitment to help environmentally overburdened communities address their local priorities. The supplemental funds announced today will help communities reuse vacant and abandoned properties and turn them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities.
RLF grants are often the last key piece of funding needed to make the cleanup and reuse of a brownfield property happen. They fund loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. These supplemental funds are provided to communities with current RLF grants who have already achieved success in their brownfields work, and keep the momentum going.
According to Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Brownfields assessment and remediation improves:
Health and the Environment: Remediation ensures residents have healthy places to live and work. Each prevented case of cancer saves over $10,000 in treatment cost.
Quality of Life: By removing blight associated with abandoned buildings and properties, retail sales have increased more than $85 million on remediated sites and more than $260 million when bordering properties are included.
Property Values: Remediation and assessment raises land values and property attractiveness to investors. Remediated properties in Oklahoma account for more than $178 million in property value and $5 million in property taxes.
Government Finances: Remediation and assessment improve the financial capacity of communities. Brownfields and bordering sites generated over $11.7 million in local sales taxes and $11.5 million in state sales taxes in 2015.
Infrastructure Utilization: Remediation and assessment improves efficiency associated with infrastructure utilization since an undeveloped site typically requires more infrastructure to be built than an existing brownfield.
Urban Sprawl: Every 1 acre of reused brownfield space preserves 4.5 acres of unused green space.
Former successful RLF communities have leveraged more than $6.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment investments and completed more than 657 cleanups. For example, brownfields funds are being used to turn Oklahoma City’s Bricktown from an industrial are to inner city entertainment district boasting $40 million in property value and $40 million in annual wages.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States, and EPA brownfield grants are helping to make a visible difference in communities across the country. As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24.3 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged. Oklahoma has had over 44 Brownfield program participants since 1998 and seen 147% growth in jobs on Brownfields and Boarding sites (1998 to 2015).
On average, for every one EPA Brownfields dollar provided, $16.11 was leveraged. As for employment, on average, 8.5 jobs were leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
A recent national study has shown that cleaning up brownfields led to residential property value increases of 5 - 15.2% within a 1.24-mile radius of the site. (Haninger et al. 2017). Another study analyzing data near 48 brownfields found that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue is generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is 2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields.
Other entities selected for additional funding today are:
• Kennebec Valley Council of Governments in Fairfield, ME
• Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission in Saco, ME
• City of Taunton in Taunton, MA
• Camden Redevelopment Agency in Camden, NJ
• City of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA
• Downriver Community Conference in Southgate, MI
• City of Rockford in Rockford, IL
• Beer Paw Development Corporation in Havre, MT
• Great Falls Development Authority in Great Falls, MT
• County of Humboldt CA in Eureka, CA
Learn more about Oklahoma Brownfield Program at http://www.deq.state.ok.us/lpdnew/brownfindex.html
Read Oklahoma Department of Commerce Report on Economic Benefits of Oklahoma’s Brownfields Program at http://www.deq.state.ok.us/lpdnew/Brownfields/Sites/DOC%20Brownfield%20Economic%20Imapact%20Analysis%20Report.pdf
For more information on EPA’s brownfields program: https://epa.gov/brownfields
To see project examples and success stories: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories
Connect with EPA Region 6:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6
Activities in EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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