ATHENS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will award the Athens County Port Authority with brownfield grants of $200,000 each to assess contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting human health.
The authority has awarded a $200,000 assessment grant for hazardous substances and a $200,000 assessment grant for petroleum. The administrator will be the Athens County Economic Development Council for the port authority.
Community-wide hazardous substances and petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to support community outreach activities, and conduct cleanup planning.
The Brownfields Program empowers states, communities and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.
About $23.5 million is going to communities that have been impacted by plant closures. Other selected recipients include tribes and communities in 44 states across the country and at least 50 of the grants are going to HUD-DOT-EPA grant recipient communities.
Since the inception of the EPA's Brownfields program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged more than $21 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This equates to an average of $17.79 leveraged per EPA brownfield dollar expended. These investments have resulted in approximately 93,000 jobs nationwide. These projects demonstrate the positive impact a small investment of federal brownfields funding can have on community revitalization through leveraging jobs, producing clean energy, and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods. EPA's Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields sites.