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U.S. EPA announces $1.1 million in Brownfields grants to promote economic redevelopment in Los Angeles

Approximately $64.6 million to be awarded nationwide

06/05/2019
Contact Information: 
EPA: Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)
415-972-3512
City of Los Angeles: Heather Johnson (heather.johnson@lacity.org)
213-798-8714

LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director for the Land, Chemicals, and Redevelopment Division for the Pacific Southwest Jeff Scott announced that the City of Los Angeles and the National Council for Community Development have been selected to receive $1.1 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. The grants are part of the $64,623,553 million awarded nationally to 149 communities. EPA Brownfield funds aid economically disadvantaged communities in Opportunity Zones and other communities throughout the country, to assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”

“We are delighted to recognize our Los Angeles partners with these grant awards,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We look forward to seeing continued investment in the revitalization of Los Angeles and the community benefits which follow.”

“A revitalized LA River is an integral part of LA’s Green New Deal,” said City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Kevin James. “New parks and expanded recreational opportunities along the river will improve the quality of life of all residents and visitors alike, and in partnership with the EPA, we can ensure that the LA River of the future will be cleaner and greener.”

“We thank the EPA for investing in LA Sanitation & Environment, and for entrusting us with this important work,” said LA Sanitation and Environment General Manager and Executive Director Enrique C. Zaldivar. “This project will bring about improved water quality for the Los Angeles River and our other watersheds, as well as enhance our biodiversity.”

The City of Los Angeles will receive $500,000 to clean up the Taylor Yard River Park brownfields site, which is located in an Opportunity Zone. The site, encompassing 12.5 acres within a 42-acre former railyard property, was first developed and used as a railyard in the 1930s. The site is currently contaminated with metals, arsenic, and volatile and semi‐volatile organic compounds. As part of the redevelopment of the site into green space, solar-powered LED lighting will be installed along trails and in parking areas. The city has secured several sources of funding, including a $2 million State Coastal Conservancy grant and $6,952,770 in proceeds from the sale of a multipurpose easement for the site to a conservation authority. In addition, the city is in the final steps of approving $1,035,000 in Capital Improvement Expenditure Program funds to support assessment, remediation, and redevelopment of the site.

The National Council for Community Development will receive $600,000 to identify, assess and plan to clean up brownfield sites in underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, including the priority Berk Oil site in the City of Bell Gardens and a vacant lot in the City of Compton. The non-profit will work in partnership with the California Department of Toxic Substance Control and the Los Angeles County Development Authority.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, Brownfields grants have been shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
  • Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

“I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding,” said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President’s work in this area. In fact, of the 149 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones.  I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country.” 

One hundred and eight communities selected for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Forty percent of the communities selected for funding will receive assistance for the first time.

Background

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.

In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants. These important changes will help communities address and cleanup more complex brownfield sites.

The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles, California. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

List of the FY 2019 Applicants Selected for Funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf

For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields

More on the 2019 Brownfields Conference: https://www.brownfields2019.org

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