EPA selects 20 communities for brownfields grant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that 20 communities from 16 states will receive approximately $4 million in 2015 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) grants for cleanup and remediation of Brownfields sites.

The grants are modeled after New York State's Brownfields Opportunity Area (BOA) Program and part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development and EPA, and are intended to help revitalize communities and strengthen local economies.

The EPA recognizes that successful and sustained community improvements occur when neighborhood stakeholders, local governments and the private sector are given the tools to work together and develop plans for revitalization.

The announcement was made in Huntington, West Virginia, a city that will be receiving a $200,000 AWP grant. Huntington plans to use their funds to build the Advanced Manufacturing & Polymer Commercialization Center, a hi-tech campus dedicated to the redevelopment of polluted brownfields on the Ohio River through the creation of new technologies and jobs.

Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, stated, "The selected grantees have demonstrated a strong vision and partnership to catalyze brownfield redevelopment as a pathway to transform their communities into vibrant destinations for housing, manufacturing, and transit-oriented development."

This is the third set of grants awarded nationwide under the Brownfields AWP initiative. In the 2010 pilot program approximately $4 million were awarded to 23 communities, which eventually influenced approximately $418 million in infrastructure and project development investments. Stanislaus noted that every region in the country has a city or community that has received AWP grants.

Environmental consultants can aid in remediation efforts and offer key insights, ensuring that brownfield sites reach their full potential and become true assets for the community.