President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help revitalize New England communities, Build a Better America and Address Environmental Justice Concerns
Vermont Business Magazine Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a $4,870,000 investment in Vermont, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to revitalize communities across the country by cleaning up contaminated and blighted sites and redeveloping them for productive uses.
The funds will support under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties and are part of a historic national EPA investment in Brownfields remediation.
The funding awards are among 236 communities nationwide to receive grant awards totaling $147.3 million in EPA Brownfields funding through its Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. The Agency is also announcing $107 million in supplemental funding to 39 existing Revolving Loan Fund grant recipients who have demonstrated success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. Today’s announcement includes approximately $180 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites across the nation into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with more than $75 million from appropriated funds.
“With today’s announcement, we’re turning blight into might for communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors. Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are significantly ramping up our investments in communities, with the bulk of our funding going to places that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long.”
“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and President Biden’s leadership, EPA’s Brownfields program is making a record investment of more than $51 million to revitalize communities across New England,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “Today’s investment of EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup funding will jump start economic redevelopment and job creation in many of New England’s hardest hit and underserved communities as we work to turn environmental risks into economic assets.”
Detail on EPA Brownfields Grants in Vermont
Vermont is receiving two grants under the Brownfields Assessment Grants, and two grants for supplemental funding under the Revolving Loan Fund program.
The Brownfields Assessment Grants are as follows:
- Addison County Regional Planning Commission - $500,000 to assess brownfields sites throughout the commission’s service area, including communities like Middlebury, Bristol, and Vergennes.
- Lamoille County Planning Commission – $370,000 to assess sites in various village centers in Lamoille County.
EPA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Brownfields grants provide funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. Through these grants, EPA strengthens the marketplace and encourages stakeholders to leverage resources to clean up and redevelop brownfields. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. The supplemental RLF funds announced today are going to communities that have demonstrated success in using their revolving loan funds to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The supplemental funds will be used to continue their progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities. The Supplemental RLF grants are to the following organizations:
- The Mount Ascutney Regional Commission, of Ascutney – $3,500,000 to supplement their successful revolving loan fund program which serves communities in the Mt. Ascutney area in Windsor County
- Windham Regional Commission, of Brattleboro – $500,000 to supplement their successful revolving loan fund program which serves communities throughout Windham County
“The EPA’s Brownfields Program does critical work helping local communities address and manage contaminated sites and then put those properties into beneficial uses. I am pleased to see these grants coming to Vermont. In order to begin cleanup and restoration in these areas, we must use the best available science to assess the current contamination levels. This funding will do just that,” said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.
“Vermont has continued to do good work cleaning up our brownfield sites. In doing so, we have brought contaminated properties back to productive use for our friends and neighbors. This is not only good for the environment, but good for our communities. Congratulations to the Addison Country Regional Planning Commission, the Lamoille County Planning Commission, the Mount Ascutney Regional Commission, and the Windham Regional Commission on today’s awards. As a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has oversight of the EPA, I will continue to work to ensure the Brownfields Program receives the funding needed to continue cleanup efforts like these long into the future,” said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
“Brownfield remediation can revitalize rural towns, creating new spaces for businesses and housing and helping communities grow. This funding from the Environmental Protection Agency will finance brownfield assessment and remediation in towns across Vermont, providing critical assistance to local governments as they work to eliminate dangerous contaminants and create new opportunities for Vermonters,” said U.S. Representative Peter Welch.
“The State of Vermont benefits from strong partnerships with EPA and our regional planning commissions, whose tireless efforts continue to ensure that funding is available to prioritize critical redevelopment projects. Brownfields present a unique intersection where both the environment and development benefit. Funding from EPA continues to be a vital component of Vermont brownfields programs; this funding allows State and regional programs to work together to ensure that the most blighted and underused properties have access to assessment and cleanup money, and in turn plays a key role in the revitalization of communities all across Vermont,” said Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner John Beling.
EPA’s Brownfields grants and assistance to Vermont this year is among other significant annual investments by EPA to help New England communities to address brownfield properties. Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $ 51,285,200 to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites 42 communities.
In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded $125 million in assessment grant funding, $122 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $87 million in cleanup grant funding, totaling $334 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $4 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 23,000 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
Nationally, today’s announcement includes:
- $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
- $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
- $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
- $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties. Supplemental funding for Revolving Loan Fund Grants is available to recipients that have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work.
The list of selected applicants is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2022-brownfields-assessment-rlf-cleanup-arc-grants-and-rlf
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:
- To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields sites.
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. Redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.
The Brownfields Program delivers on the Biden Administration’s Justive40 initiative, which states that at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs flow to disadvantaged communities. EPA is committed to meeting and exceeding this goal. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
The funding announced today will help communities begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields by stimulating economic opportunity and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities. Projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 16-19, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Conference registration is open at www.brownfields2022.org.
Brownfields in New England: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-land-revitalization-region-1
For more on Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
Learn more about EPA Region 1: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-1-new-england
BOSTON (May 16, 2022) – US Environmental Protection Agency