EPA announces the largest investment ever in brownfields communities made by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
NEW YORK (May 25, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 7 selectees from New York will get $6.4 Million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in New York while advancing environmental justice. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this is the largest ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs.
These investments are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
“We’re working across the country to revitalize what were once dangerous and polluted sites in overburdened communities into more sustainable and environmentally just places that serve as community assets. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we’re moving further and faster than ever before to clean up contaminated sites, spur economic redevelopment, and deliver relief that so many communities have been waiting for,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This critical wave of investments is the largest in Brownfields history and will accelerate our work to protect the people and the planet by transforming what was once blight into might.”
“The brownfields program is a powerful tool that helps communities in New York address local inequities by providing a means to revitalize abandoned properties and promote environmental health, economic growth, and job creation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “The Brownfields program transforms communities, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding gives the program a huge shot in the arm – with a historic $1.5 billion dollars that will be leveraged to make a real and lasting on-the-ground difference for communities across the country.”
“Brownfields are much more than eyesores for Upstate NY – they devalue surrounding properties, harm the local economy, and pose potential environmental and health threats,” said Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer. “From Syracuse to Sullivan County this critical federal investment will provide the boost that our Upstate communities need to cleanup these brownfield properties and create a better future. I am proud we secured a historic $1.5 billion for the EPA’s Brownfields program in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Law to make this funding possible, and I will keep working to return these blighted properties to productive use to breathe new life into our Upstate communities.”
“Brownfields are a serious threat to the environment and to public health,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Cleaning them up and turning them into usable spaces like parks, recreation facilities, and housing revitalizes our communities and spurs local economic development. I’m proud to have fought to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that helped provide the funding for this cleanup and I applaud EPA for working to address contamination across New York State.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC applauds EPA for its sustained investments to revitalize neighborhoods and protect public health by cleaning up former industrial sites and returning them to productive use. The significant grants announced today will bolster New York State’s ongoing efforts to clean up contaminated sites and DEC looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our federal partners to advance our shared goals to protect natural resources and communities.”
Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.
Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.
EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of its work. Approximately 84 percent of the MARC program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.
State Funding Breakdown:
Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Program Selection
EPA announced 262 communities that have been selected to receive 267 grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Programs. This represents the highest funding level ever announced in the history of the Brownfields Program.
The following organizations in New York have been selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Programs.
- Greater Syracuse Land Bank, NY has been selected to receive $1,000,000. Grant funds will be used to update an inventory of brownfield sites and conduct 20 Phase I and 18 Phase II environmental site assessments, and develop eight cleanup plans and four reuse plans. Grant funds also will be used to update an inventory of foreclosable brownfield sites and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the South Avenue Corridor, the Near Eastside Neighborhood, the 15th Ward, and the Hawley-Green Neighborhood in the City of Syracuse, all within the city’s urban core. Priority sites include a former dry cleaners and gas station, four vacant and abandoned former automobile repair shops, a vacant commercial building, and an auto garage and junkyard.
- Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, NY has been selected to receive $800,000. Grant funds will be used to conduct one Phase I and three Phase II environmental site assessments of sites in the target area and to clean up the 341 Peat Street site. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities. The target area for this project is the Near Eastside neighborhood in the City of Syracuse, which is just 1.4 miles east of downtown Syracuse with dilapidated buildings, piles of illegally dumped trash and debris, and associated blight that is highly visible from Highway 690 as people travel into the city. Priority sites include the 341 Peat Street site, which was first developed in the 1890s and historically operated as a structural steel works facility, forge and foundry for an iron and steel company, machine shop, equipment repair facility, and varnish supplier. Other priority sites are located on Greenway Avenue and include the 79,600-square-foot Winkelman property, a 0.93-acre former industrial site, and a 0.29-acre site consisting of an abandoned roadway.
- Wayne Country Regional Land Bank Corporation, NY has been selected to receive $800,000. Grant funds will be used to conduct six Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments, prepare two cleanup plans and one site reuse plan, update the county’s site inventory, and conduct community engagement activities. Grant funds also will be used to clean up four sites on Canal Street. The target area for this project is the Canal/Geneva Street Corridor in the City of Lyons’ historic downtown district, which sits along the Erie Canal. Priority sites include five properties on Canal Street, a property at 30 Geneva Street, and one property at 1 Clyde Road. These properties include former mixed commercial row-style buildings, a former gas station, a former fueling station and convenience store, and a former restaurant and bar.
- Wayne County, NY has been selected to receive $1,000,000. Grant funds will be used to conduct 15 Phase I and 14 Phase II environmental site assessments and develop eight cleanup plans, two site reuse plans, and one area-wide plan. Grant funds also will be used to update a brownfield inventory and support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Village of Newark and the Towns of Lyons, Sodus, and Wolcott. Priority sites include an underutilized industrial property, a 13,000-square-foot abandoned former two-story medical office, and a formerly occupied photo etching company in the City of Newark; a former coal-fired electric generation plant located on the Erie Canal and a 21-acre former warehouse and shipping facility in the Town of Lyons; a 3.5-acre former malt house for the Genesee Brewing Company and a 4.25-acre water treatment plant in Wayne County; and the 200-acre Former Butler State Prison in the Town of Wolcott. Non-lead coalition members include the Town of Lyons, the Village of Newark, and the Greater Rochester Enterprise.
- Mohawk Valley Economic Development District Inc., NY has been selected to receive $1,000,000. The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, Inc. will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities and market the fund. RLF activities will focus on the Utica Industrial Central Corridor Brownfield Opportunity Zone (BOA), the Gloversville BOA/Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) area, and the Ilion LWRP area.
- Sullivan County, NY has been selected to receive $800,000. The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which Sullivan County will provide ten loans and ten subgrants to support cleanup activities. Grant funds also will be used to market the RLF program. RLF activities will target the entire county with a focus on the housing projects and multi-owner Turick site. Priority sites include vacant homes in the Towns of Bethel, Liberty, Thompson, and the Village of Monticello.
- Syracuse Economic Development Corporation, NY has been selected to receive $1,000,000. The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Grant funds also will be used to conduct cleanup planning and community engagement activities and market the fund. RLF activities will focus on the East Adams and Hawley-Green neighborhoods, which are in some of the City of Syracuse’s densest urban areas.
You can read more about this year’s MARC selectees, here.
EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, nearly 260,000 jobs. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 8-11, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. 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).
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
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Posted May 31, 2023