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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA announces $1.9 million in Brownfields grants to promote economic redevelopment in Arizona

Approximately $64.6 million to be awarded nationwide

06/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)
4159723512

PHOENIX – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that three communities in Arizona have been selected to receive grant awards totaling $1,997,689 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. The grants to Cochise County, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Housing Authority 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 Arizona partners with these grant awards,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We look forward to seeing continued investment in the revitalization of Arizona and the community benefits which follow.”

Cochise County will receive $600,000 to target brownfield sites in the cities of Douglas, Bisbee and Sierra Vista. The industrial history of this border county, which includes more than 140 years of mining, military installations and ranching, has resulted in multiple brownfield properties. The county’s goal is to build community resiliency through economic development of these underutilized properties. EPA grant funds will be used for property assessments and clean-up plans, to develop an area-wide plan for a priority focus area and to conduct community outreach activities.

The Northern Arizona Council of Governments will receive $597,686 to target brownfield sites on the historic Route 66 Corridor. Under this grant, the coalition partners—the cities of Flagstaff and Winslow, the Town of Camp Verde and Coconino and Yavapai counties—will address economic development, historical and cultural preservation, and environmental protection along the Route 66 Corridor. The redevelopment activities will focus on promoting cultural tourism opportunities; encouraging economic diversification to broaden employment opportunities in existing and emerging industry sectors, including forest restoration and biomass energy production; and rehabilitating and constructing low-to-moderate income and workforce housing.

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Housing Authority will receive $800,000 to assess and clean-up contamination from illegal drug (methamphetamine) manufacturing and use in tribal housing units. Grant funds will also be used to update the Housing Authority’s existing community involvement plan and outreach materials. The target area is the White Mountain Apache Reservation, which covers 1.6 million acres in portions of Apache, Gila and Navajo counties.

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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