Two West Virginia communities are among 245 grantees in 39 states across the country to share in $69.3 million in U.S. EPA brownfields grants. U. S. EPA recently selected the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle for a cleanup grant and the City of Charles Town for a revolving loan fund grant. The grants were announced May 24, 2012, and are intended to provide communities with funding necessary to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, revitalizing those communities. For an example of how two West Virginia cities have used U.S. EPA brownfields funding to revitalize their communities, click here.
U.S. EPA awarded the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle $200,000 to clean up hazardous substances at the former Tayler, Smith and Tayler Pottery site located at L8 and Poutus Street near downtown Chester, West Virginia. The site is a former ceramic pottery manufacturing facility that operated from 1900 until operations ceased in 1982. According to the U.S. EPA fact sheet that accompanied the announcement of the award, the facility is contaminated with metals and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds will also be used for reuse planning and community outreach activities.
The City of Charles Town in the Eastern Panhandle received a revolving loan fund grant in the amount of $650,000. The grant funds will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which Charles Town will provide between two and six loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities for sites contaminated with hazardous substances. The area targeted for receipt of these loans and subgrants is the “Commerce Corridor,” which is a 1.5 mile segment with more than a dozen abandoned and under-utilized Brownfields slated for new office and retail development between Charles Town and Ranson, West Virginia. Grant funds will also be used for oversight of the program and community outreach activities. In 2010 U.S. EPA selected Ranson as a brownfields area-wide planning pilot program recipient. The area-wide plan helped Ranson and Charles Town prioritize brownfields site assessment and cleanup and develop site-specific reuse plan based on community input.
U.S. EPA states in its press release announcing the 2012 grants that nearly half of the grantees are new awardees. Of the $69.3 million in grants, approximately 29% of the grantees are non-urban areas with populations of 100,000 or less, 16% are “micro” communities with populations of 10,000 or less, and the remaining grants are urban areas with populations exceeding 100,000.
U.S. EPA estimates that there are 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in the U.S. According to U.S. EPA, its Brownfields Program leveraged 6,447 jobs and $2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds in 2011. Since the beginning of U.S. EPA’s Brownfields Program, the Agency states that its brownfields investments have leveraged more than $18.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding and have resulted in approximately 75,500 jobs. U.S. EPA states that more than 18,000 properties have been assessed and over 700 properties have been cleaned up. For a list of all awarded brownfields grants by state, see http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/.
This article was authored by Gale Lea Rubrecht, Jackson Kelly PLLC. For more information on the author, see here.