President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help revitalize New England communities, Build a Better America and Address Environmental Justice Concerns May 16, 2022 By Ramona du Houx BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $24,200,000 investment in Maine made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to revitalize communities across the country by cleaning up contaminated and blighted sites […]
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help revitalize New England communities, Build a Better America and Address Environmental Justice Concerns
May 16, 2022
By Ramona du Houx
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $24,200,000 investment in Maine 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.
“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.”
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 227 communities nationwide to receive grant awards totaling $147.5 million in EPA Brownfields funding through its Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs.
“The Brownfields program has been enormously successful in cleaning up and redeveloping hazardous sites in Maine. As Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the EPA, I’m thrilled to see more than $24 million of that funding coming back to Maine to help towns assess and mitigate pollution by cleaning up sites vulnerable to extreme climate events and repurposing them to create valued community spaces,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Chair of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
Today’s announcement includes approximately $179.3 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.
“We welcome this funding from the EPA’s Brownfields Programs, which will help identify potential hazards and encourage community development across Maine,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “In addition to cleaning up hazardous substances and improving our environment, this investment will help communities create new development opportunities to attract businesses that create good jobs for Mainers.”
Detail On EPA Brownfields Grants in Maine
Maine is receiving nine grants under the Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants, two grants under the Revolving Loan Fund program, and six grants for supplemental funding under the Revolving Loan Fund program.
The Brownfields Cleanup Grants are as follows:
- Our Katahdin – $650,000 to clean up the Former Great Northern Paper Company site
- City of Rockland – $500,000 to clean up the Shafter Junkyard site
Our Katahdin will also receive a site-specific assessment grant of $350,000 for the former Great Northern Paper Company site.
The following Community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grants will be used to address various sites throughout the indicated cities, towns, or planning organization service areas:
- City of Bath – $500,000
- City of Belfast – $500,000
- Eastern Maine Development Corporation – $500,000
- City of Gardiner – $500,000
- Town of Gray – $500,000
- Piscataquis County Economic Development Corporation – $500,000
- City of South Portland – $500,000
- City of Waterville – $500,000
“This Brownfields funding represents a significant investment in the future of towns across the Second District. Whether in Milo, Belfast, or Millinocket, cleanup activity at Brownfields sites provides an opportunity to bring good-paying jobs back to our communities and to provide a boost to rural economies that otherwise might not occur. I’m looking forward to seeing the transformation these sites undergo and thank the EPA for its work to make this funding happen,” said Congressman Jared Golden.
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.
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 sub-grants 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 Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant and Supplemental RLF grants are to the following organizations:
- Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments – $1,000,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the Androscoggin Valley area
- City of Belfast – $1,000,000 for a new Brownfields RLF program for the city to help support Brownfields cleanups at sites such as 126 Church Street and others
- Eastern Maine Development Corporation – $1,000,000 for a new Brownfields RLF program to help support Brownfields cleanups throughout the area including sites such as Great Northern Paper and others
- Greater Portland Council of Governments – $3,900,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the Greater Portland area
- Kennebec Valley Council of Governments – $1,000,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the Kennebec Valley area
- Maine Department of Economic and Community Development – $3,900,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the entire state
- City of Portland – $3,000,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the City of Portland
- Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission – $3,900,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the southern Maine area
Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $51,285,200 to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites in 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.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has leveraged about $35 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields.
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.