JULY 2011

EPA funds cleanup and revitalization efforts in Connecticut communities

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing $1.9 million in Brownfields grants that will help Connecticut communities to assess, clean up and redevelop abandoned or contaminated properties. The funding is part of more than $76 million in EPA brownfields investments across the country announced by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to protect health and the environment, create jobs and promote economic redevelopment in American communities.

The grant money will assist work to reclaim sites including old textile mills, sites containing hazardous substances and petroleum products and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties. EPA’s Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

In Connecticut, EPA is providing Brownfields grants to the following municipalities and groups:

•New Opportunities Economic Development Corp., Waterbury, $600,000;

•Police Activity League of Waterbury, Inc., Waterbury, $400,000;

•City of Stratford, $400,000; and,

•Valley Council of Governments, $500,000.

The $12.55 million in grant and Revolving Loan Fund money awarded by EPA to a variety of New England communities and organization will provide substantial help around the region. The EPA funding leverages over $46 million of other money to pursue brownfields clean up and revitalization work. In New England, these projects have created 98 clean up jobs this year as well as 135 redevelopment jobs.

As of June 2011, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $16.3 billion in clean up and redevelopment funding, and helped create more than 70,000 jobs in clean up, construction and redevelopment. These investments and jobs target local, under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental clean ups and new jobs are most needed.

Since the beginning of the Brownfields Program, in New England alone EPA has awarded 268 assessment grants totaling $67.1 million, 61 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $65 million and 174 clean up grants totaling $39.3 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $1.3 billion in public and private clean up and redevelopment investment and for 8815 jobs in assessment, clean up, construction and redevelopment.

Some of the money falls under EPA’s brownfields revolving loan funding (RLF). Since 1995, EPA RLF recipients have provided 53 loans and 63 grants in New England totaling more than $29 million for brownfields clean up. The loan funds have paved the way for more than $189 million in public and private clean up and redevelopment investment and for 1034 jobs in clean up, construction and redevelopment.

In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed. The brownfields law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum, or sites contaminated as a result of manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs (e.g., meth labs).