Niagara County to Receive $3.9 Million in Brownfield-Specific Funding to Address Brownfields

NEW YORK Niagara County in New York to benefit from more than $250 million in funding recently awarded across the country to 265 municipalities. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia was joined today by U.S. Representative Brian Higgins in highlighting the important work to be done in the Niagara County with a portion of this funding. Communities in New York received about $10.5 of that money, including a $3.9 million grant for Niagara County. Funding comes in part from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted brownfields or dangerous.

The EPA will provide Niagara County with a Revolving Loan Fund grant that supplements previous Brownfields Grant funding the agency provided to the county. These new funds will be used for loans and sub-grants for site cleanups across the county. Priority sites for this funding include a former scrapyard, 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 hazardous sites into productive economic contributors. Thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we are dramatically increasing 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 overstretched New York communities 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 is transforming communities, and BIL is giving the program a huge injection of funding with a historic $1.5 billion that will be leveraged to make a real and lasting difference on the ground for communities across the country.”

Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings contaminated with asbestos or lead, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once handled hazardous chemicals. Once cleared, former brownfields can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks and solar farms.

Brownfields program moves President Biden forward Justice40 Initiative, which aims to provide at least 40% of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. About 86% of the communities selected to receive this funding proposed projects in historically underserved areas. EPA Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs such as the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative are also helping to build the clean energy economy.

This announcement includes approximately $180 million from President Biden’s historic $1.5 billion bipartisan Infrastructure Act investment to help transform brownfields across the country into hubs of economic growth and creation. jobs, as well as more than $75 million from fiscal 2022 appropriations. The national list of 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 creation in 1995, EPA investments in brownfields have generated more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has resulted in significant benefits for communities across the country. For instance:

  • To date, this funding has led to over 183,000 jobs in cleaning, construction and remodeling and more than 9,500 properties were prepared for reuse.
  • According to grant recipient reports, grantees benefited on average $20.43 for every EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields grant funds spent on assessment, cleanup and cooperative agreements on the revolving loan fund.
  • Additionally, a peer-reviewed academic study found that the value of residential properties near brownfields increased by 5% to 15% following clean-up activities.
  • Finally, by analyzing data near 48 brownfield sites, the EPA found an estimate $29-97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after the cleanup – 2 to 7 times more than the EPA’s $12.4 million went to clean up these brownfields.

“The bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act I led to pass included a historic $1.5 billion for the EPA’s Brownfields program, and now those dollars are kickstarting long-delayed cleanups on toxic sites from the Mohawk Valley to Niagara County”, said Senator Chuck Schumer. “Cleaning up these polluted sites is key to breathing new life into these communities to attract business and create new well-paying jobs. This federal investment of $10.5 million will not only ensure that municipalities do not have to go into debt to clean up these waste sites, but will protect the health of our families, the environment and accelerate economic recovery.

“Brownfields are a serious threat to the environment and 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 drives local economic development. I’m proud to have fought to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Act that helped fund this cleanup, and I applaud the EPA for its work in tackling contamination across New York State.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act lays the foundation for healthier, cleaner, and vibrant communities, while supporting jobs right here at home,” said Representative Brian Higgins. “This federal investment of $4 million represents a significant boost for a program that will play a vital role in transitioning former industrial sites in Niagara County to new, exciting and welcoming destinations for public and economic opportunity.

“We thank the Biden administration, EPA Administrator Regan and Regional Administrator Garcia for their $10 million investment in New York and their support of federal brownfields cleanup programs as essential tools to address pollution and revitalize communities,”said New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This federal investment will bolster New York State’s brownfields cleanup program, which continues to grow stronger thanks to the unwavering support of Governor Hochul’s recent 10-year extension of the initiative. In New York, we have countless examples of how brownfield cleanups can transform once-abandoned hazardous sites, often community eyesores, into vibrant, usable spaces for business, housing, and park development. With this new influx of support, New York will continue to exemplify how investing in our communities produces valuable and timeless results.

Niagara County Chair Rebecca Wydysh said: “Niagara County has been a leader in brownfields efforts and this grant demonstrates our commitment and progress toward site remediation and redevelopment.”

New York State Senator Rob Ortt said: “Niagara County and Western New York are currently undergoing a renaissance with exciting new projects emerging from once polluted plots of land. Our region, which was built on the industrial sector, is still recovering from the environmental mistakes of the past. But with funding from programs such as the Revolving Loan Supplemental Grant Fund and the Brownfield Tax Credit at the state level, we are making tremendous strides toward cleaning up our communities and repurposing once vacant land to new commercial uses. and residential. 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 created from this program.

Additional context

A brownfield is a property whose expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The 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 August 16-19, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on the cleanup and reuse of former commercial and industrial properties. EPA is co-sponsoring this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Registration for the conference is open to www.brownfields2022.org.

To learn more about Brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

To learn more about the EPA’s Brownfields program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields

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