$6.8 M to Fund Training for Brownfields Cleanup in 8 States

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that more than $6.8 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will be invested to train workers to clean up brownfields sites.

"The Recovery Act is not only helping train individuals for good jobs in their communities, it's helping them rebuild a lasting foundation for prosperity," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "With new skills in environmental cleanup, these workers will begin restoring their communities into better places for businesses to invest and create jobs."

EPA's Brownfields Program will award up to $500,000 each to governmental entities and non-profit organizations in 14 communities in 8 states. Funding will help train residents living near brownfields sites in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Washington.

EPA established the Brownfields Job Training Program to help residents take advantage of jobs created by the assessment, as well as to spur cleanup and sustainable reuse of brownfields sites and to ensure that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities.

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 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law) was passed. The Brownfields Law expanded the definition of what is 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. EPA's Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

Information on ARRA brownfields job training grants can be found at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/job.htm.

In related news, EPA said on Aug. 4 that $55 million in supplemental funding—in the form of revolving loans and subgrants—is being awarded for clean-up efforts at brownfields.

Of the $55 million grant, $42 million is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and $13 million is funded through the EPA Brownfields funding program.

Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low- or no-interest loans for brownfields cleanups. Communities representing 55 state or local governments are receiving supplemental funding. In all, 42 eligible grantees will receive supplemental funding under the Recovery Act, and 18 under the EPA Brownfields general program funding. Grantees selected for recovery act supplemental funds demonstrated:

  • An ability to deliver programmatic results by making at least one loan or subgrant and have effectively utilized existing loan funds;
  • Shovel-ready projects that will expeditiously result in job creation; and
  • An ability to track and measure their progress in creating the jobs associated with loans or subgrants.
EPA will monitor the progress of grant recipients to ensure the funds are spent productively and efficiently.

The Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

For more information on brownfields clean-up revolving loan fund pilots and grants, visit http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm.