West FL RPC gets $1mil from EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding four communities in Florida with $2.2 million in brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use. The communities in Florida receiving brownfields revolving loan fund,assessment and cleanup grants include:

–West Florida Regional Planning Council – $1 million revolving loan
fund grant;

–Tallahassee – $400,000 assessment grants;

–Pinellas County – $600,000 cleanup grants; and

–Clay County Development Authority – $200,000 assessment grant.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what’s considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on
mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

In the Southeast, 31 communities have been selected to receive brownfields grants to assess, cleanup and redevelop properties. Nationally, 43 states, two tribes and two U.S. Territories will share more than $74 million in brownfields grants.

In all, 209 applicants were selected to receive 314 assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants:
—194 assessment grants totaling $38.7 million to be used to conduct site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at one or morebrownfields sites or as part of a community-wide effort.

—108 cleanup grants totaling $19.6 million to provide funding for grant recipients to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields sites they own.

—12 revolving loan fund grants totaling $15.7 million to provide funding for communities to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low interest loans for brownfields cleanups.

The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the program, EPA has awarded 1,255 assessment grants totaling more than $298 million, 230 revolving loan fund grants totaling about $217 million, and 426 cleanup grants totaling $78.7 million.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas stations to housing. As of January 31, 2008, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $10.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding and 47,201 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment. Assessments have been performed on 11,738 properties and 256 properties have been cleaned up.

More information on the grant recipients: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields