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  • 12 Oct 2023 3:41 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    Decades ago, many upstate downtown areas were hotbeds for economic activity. Today you can find those same areas with old, vacant buildings with many opportunities for growth.

    The state works with communities to provide funding through the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program.


  • 12 Oct 2023 3:39 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    October 12, 2023

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    R3 Press (

    PITTSBURGH (October 12, 2023) - Following a May announcement that over $14 million in Brownfields funding was being awarded in Pennsylvania, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz joined local environmental and community leaders in Pittsburgh today to celebrate the historic investment.

    Awarded through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Program, the North Side Industrial Development Company (NSIDC) and the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YPA) will collectively invest $1 million in the Greater Pittsburgh area to conduct 30 Phase I and 23 Phase II environmental site assessments, prepare seven cleanup plans, and conduct community outreach and engagement activities that will help transform sites back into safe and productive reuse.

    “EPA’s Brownfields grants have transformed neighborhoods across the country, and thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Allegheny County is seeing more money than ever invested in assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “These assessment grants are often the first step towards cleaner, greener, and safer spaces and EPA is proud to play a role in that.”

    Announced at a site on Perrysville Avenue in the Perry Hilltop Neighborhood of the City, EPA joined leaders from NSIDC and YPA, along with city, county, and local stakeholders to celebrate this investment and look towards the future. The site, while presently vacant, is expected to one day be a community center and day care. As part of the Urban Development Authority’s Avenues of Hope program, Perrysville Avenue will also leverage federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to transform the corridor into a vibrant, safe, diverse, and culture-rich hub.

    "Our team at NSIDC is very excited to continue our economic development work utilizing this $500,000 EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant throughout the Pittsburgh region. It's these types of investments from the Federal Government that allows forgotten communities to be a part of equitable growth of the economy,"  said Juan Garrett, Executive Director, North Side Industrial Development Company.

    As part of President’s Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle out – 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 reutilization in historically overburdened communities.

    “Young Preservationists Association (YPA) is honored to stand with EPA as a conduit of these resources that will be of service to so many. Our sincerest thanks go to the Mayor of McKeesport, Mike Cherepko, and his team for their partnering with us on this important work and for their belief in our mission of economic development through historic preservation. In addition to our thanks to the EPA we would also like to thank our Board of Directors and the Allegheny Foundation for their kind and generous support," said Matthew Craig, Executive Director of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.

    "This monumental investment by the EPA in the Greater Pittsburgh area underscores the importance of collective action, converging government and community organizations, to revitalize and repurpose our brownfield sites. As we witness these funds coming into our communities, we are not just seeing the physical transformation of neglected spaces, but also sewing the seeds of opportunity, sustainability, and environmental justice into the very fabric of our neighborhoods. It is crucial that we continue to channel our energies and resources into initiatives like the MARC Grant Program, ensuring that all communities, especially those that have borne the brunt of economic and environmental disparities, are given the chance to flourish. The collaborative work we engage in today is paving the way for a greener, more equitable tomorrow for the people of Western Pennsylvania,” said U.S. Congresswoman Summer Lee.

    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.

    “The EPA Brownfields Program is a great example of what happens when government and non-profits work together to provide economic re-birth to neighborhoods and communities that have long been neglected. Thanks to the Biden Administration, who believe that stabilization and expansion of communities take place from the bottom up and middle out this initiative is possible. I can’t wait to see what develops through the initial investment by the North Side Industrial Develop Company (NSIDC) and Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YAA). Through reclaiming land and putting it to good use, we reclaim neighborhoods and residents,” said Mayor of Pittsburgh Ed Gainey.  

  • 12 Oct 2023 3:38 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    EPA Brownfields Job Training Grants, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, build a skilled environmental workforce in overburdened communities

    October 12, 2023

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    R3 Press (

    PITTSBURGH (October 12, 2023) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz visited the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway in Pittsburgh today to witness firsthand the work of Landforce, a land stewardship and workforce development organization. 

    People are seen in the woods talking and smiling

    EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz stands with Brownfields Job Training Grant Program graduates.

    Landforce is one of two Allegheny County organizations selected by EPA for funding under its fiscal year 2023 Brownfields Job Training Grant competition.  EPA selected Landforce and Auberle to each receive approximately $500,000 to recruit, train, and retain local, skilled individuals.  The recruitments will prioritize unemployed or under-employed adults who have faced barriers to stable, family- sustaining employment. 

    “The Brownfields Job Training Grant Program not only improves communities, it has the power to change lives,” said EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.“Graduates develop the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field - a win across the board.”

    Established in 2015, Landforce has received a total of $700,000 from two EPA brownfield remediation and workforce development multi-year grants to recruit and train adults with barriers to employment, using a rigorously designed curriculum that covers both hard and soft skills, combined with actual employment stewarding Pittsburgh's degraded lands. 

    In the past eight years, Landforce has trained 147 people and brought 126 of them on as crew members. In addition to this year’s job training grant, they are also the recipient of a $149,336 Solid Waste Infrastructure Grant, which will allow them to divert 625 tons of urban wood waste annually from landfills. 

    “We’re grateful for federal investments from our partners at US EPA for helping us turn a vision into a reality. With these funds, not only can we continue our current programming - we can now expand to year-round opportunities. In addition to job training, our portfolio will now include the full life cycle management of trees, diverting wood waste from landfills, and giving fallen trees new life,” said Ilyssa Manspeizer, Ph.D. Executive Director, Landforce.

    Based in McKeesport, Auberle plans to train 130 students and place at least 95 in environmental jobs amongst their 130 employing partners and 100 referral agencies through the region. The training program includes 115 hours of instruction in 40-Hour HAZWOPER, 32-Hour Asbestos, Lead Renovation and Repair, Confined Space Entry, OSHA-10, Bloodborne Pathogens, and CPR/ First Aid. Students who complete the training will earn up to one state and seven federal certifications. Auberle is targeting students within Allegheny County, specifically chronically underemployed, unemployed, and at-risk individuals. 

    “Auberle’s Brownfields Job Training Program changes lives by putting local people to work in places that have been impacted by industry, helping to revitalize their own communities while lifting themselves and their families out of poverty. We are grateful to the EPA for providing this impactful funding,” said Abby Wolensky, Auberle’s Director of the Employment Institute.

    "Witnessing the EPA Brownfields Job Training Grants unfold at the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway is symbolic of the transformative, hands-on environmental and employment work occurring in Pittsburgh. Organizations like Landforce and Auberle are making our communities stronger and more resilient. They're cleaning up our environment and, at the same time, giving people who need jobs the training they need to get them. It's about taking care of our neighborhoods and each other at the same time. This is not only a revitalization of our lands, but a direct investment in our people, providing them not just with jobs, but with careers that uplift them, their families, and our communities. Together, we're fixing our environment and giving people good, strong job skills for the future. What we're doing now in Allegheny County and all over the region will make things better for our kids and grandkids, and I'm excited to help heal our environment and our neighbors at the same time," said  U.S. Congresswoman Summer Lee.


    President Biden’s leadership and bipartisan Congressional action have delivered the single-largest investment in U.S. brownfields infrastructure ever through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invests more than $1.5 billion over five years through EPA’s highly successful Brownfields Program. The Brownfields Jobs Training Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities.

    The EPA’s Brownfields Job Training (JT) grant program is a unique employment and training program. The grants allow nonprofit and other eligible organizations to recruit, train, and retain a local, skilled workforce by prioritizing unemployed and under-employed, including low-income individuals living in areas impacted by solid and hazardous waste in environmental jobs. Students learn the skills and credentials needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field, including brownfields assessment and cleanup. These jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities. Communities have the flexibility to deliver eligible training that meets the local labor market demands of the environmental sector in their communities.

    Since 1998, EPA has awarded 400 job training grants. With these grants, more than 20,600 individuals have completed training and over 15,300 individuals have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety.

    Learn more on EPA’s Brownfields Program.

  • 12 Oct 2023 3:36 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    Air quality, interagency collaboration, and community investments were among the chief concerns shared by Pennsylvanians about the commonwealth’s interim environmental justice policy at a public meeting Wednesday evening. 


  • 11 Oct 2023 3:44 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    New York is rapidly transitioning to an electricity system powered by renewable energy sources. This transformation requires suitable locations to install solar arrays and wind turbines, as well as responsible renewable project siting that balances clean energy development with other land uses, especially conservation and agriculture.


  • 11 Oct 2023 3:42 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    TORRS, CT — A $5M cooperative agreement grant from awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will assist a team of faculty and staff members at the University of Connecticut with continuing to provide technical assistance to communities encountering "the challenges of assessment, cleanup, and revitalization at brownfield sites," officials said.


  • 10 Oct 2023 3:46 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    The 111.5 acre former iron ore mine has undergone zoning and interconnection work by New York’s NYSERDA team to minimize risks associated with developing projects on sites that the state deems ideal for hosting solar power projects.


  • 09 Oct 2023 3:49 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its cleanup plan to address contaminated groundwater, soil, bedrock, soil vapor and surface water at the Lehigh Valley Railroad Derailment site located in LeRoy, New York. EPA held a public meeting on August 29, 2023, to explain the proposed plan to the community and take comments. The finalized plan, released today, addresses the remaining contamination from the historic train accident that spilled trichloroethylene (TCE) onto the ground and caused the groundwater contamination.

    We handled the most immediate threats by working with the state to remove contamination and connect people to a safe source of drinking water, said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. This final cleanup plan addresses the last of the contaminated legacy of this derailment and turns the page to the final chapter of our work at this site.

    The site includes the location of a former train derailment that occurred on December 6, 1970, at the Gulf Road crossing in the Town of LeRoy. Two tank cars ruptured and spilled approximately 30,000 gallons of TCE onto the ground. A third car containing a crystalline form of cyanide was also reported to have partially spilled. The cyanide was recovered shortly after the derailment, however the TCE was flushed with water, and it seeped into the ground, resulting in a 4-mile-long plume of TCE contamination. EPA placed the site on the Superfund List in 1999 and has been addressing the site in several stages, including an early removal response, as well as remedial actions known as operable units (OUs), where EPA worked with the state on a waterline and oversaw vapor mitigation work in affected homes and a soil cleanup in the spill area.

    For the entire release, see <

  • 09 Oct 2023 3:48 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is kicking off a series of meetings beginning this week to gather input from the public on the interim environmental justice policy adopted by the agency on Sept. 16. 


  • 09 Oct 2023 3:47 PM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

    With support from a $5M cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a team of faculty and staff at the University of Connecticut will continue providing technical assistance to communities encountering the challenges of assessment, cleanup, and revitalization at brownfield sites while protecting public health and promoting environmental justice. 


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