Niagara County to Receive $3.9 Million in Brownfields-Specific Funding to Address Contaminated Sites
Niagara County in New York will benefit from the more than $250 million in funding recently awarded across the country to 265 communities. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia was joined today by U.S. Representative Brian Higgins to highlight the important work to be conducted in Niagara County using part of this funding. New York communities received about $10.5 of that money, including a $3.9 million grant to Niagara County. The funding is in part from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.
EPA will be awarding Niagara County a Revolving Loan Fund grant that supplements previous Brownfields grant funding the Agency awarded to the County. These new funds will be used to for loans and subgrants for site cleanups throughout the County. Priority sites for this funding include a former junkyard, a vacant office building, and a former industrial building.
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “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.”
“Niagara County will benefit from the powerful tool of brownfields, which helps overburdened communities in New York address local inequities by providing a means to revitalize properties and promote environmental health, economic growth, and job creation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “The Brownfields program transforms communities, and BIL gives the program a huge infusion of funding 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.”
Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals. Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.
The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 InitiativeEXIT EPA WEBSITE, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive this funding have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. EPA’s Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs like the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative are also helping to build the clean energy economy.
This announcement includes approximately $180 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s 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 Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations. The national list of the applicants selected for funding is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2022-brownfields-assessment-rlf-cleanup-arc-grants-and-rlf
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:
- To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields sites.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Law that I led to passage included a historic $1.5 billion for the EPA’s Brownfields program, and now those dollars are jumpstarting long-delayed clean-ups at toxic sites from the Mohawk Valley to Niagara County,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. “Cleaning up these polluted sites is critical to breathing new life into these communities to attract businesses and create new good-paying jobs. This $10.5 million federal investment will not only ensure that municipalities will not have to take on debt to clean up these waste sites, but will protect the health of our families, environment, and will accelerate economic recovery.”
“Brownfields are a serious threat to the environment and to public health,” said Sen. 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.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is laying the foundation for healthier, cleaner and vibrant communities, while supporting jobs right here at home,” said Rep. Brian Higgins. “This $4 million federal investment, represents a significant boost to a program that will play a critical role in transitioning Niagara County’s old, industrial sites to destinations that are new, exciting and welcoming to the public and to economic opportunities.”
“We thank the Biden Administration, EPA Administrator Regan, and Regional Administrator Garcia for their $10 million investment in New York and supporting federal brownfield cleanup programs as critical tools to remediate pollution and revitalize communities,” New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “This federal investment will bolster New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, which continues to get stronger with unwavering support from Governor Hochul’s recent 10-year extension of the initiative. In New York we have countless examples of how Brownfield cleanups can turn formerly abandoned hazardous sites, often community eyesores, into vibrant, usable spaces for businesses, housing, and parks development. With this new influx of support, New York will continue to set an example of how investing in our communities yields valuable and timeless results.”
Niagara County Chairwoman Rebecca Wydysh said: “Niagara County has been a leader on brownfield efforts and this grant award demonstrates our commitment and progress towards site remediation and redevelopment.”
New York State Sen. Rob Ortt said: “Niagara County and Western New York is currently in the midst of a rebirth with new and exciting projects emerging from once polluted parcels of land. Our region, which was built on the industrial sector, is still recovering from environmental mistakes of the past. But with funding from programs like the Revolving Loan Supplemental Grant Fund, and the Brownfield Tax Credit at the state level, we are making tremendous strides forward toward cleaning up our communities and repurposing once vacant land for new commercial and residential usage. I thank the bipartisan efforts at our federal level for helping to make this funding available to our county, and I look forward to the new projects that are created from this program.”
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 next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 16-19, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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). Conference registration is open at www.brownfields2022.org