ICYMI: EPA to Award $6.5 Million to Address Contaminated Sites in New Jersey
Funding Includes First-Ever Brownfields-Specific Funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
NEW YORK – Today, the Biden Administration through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is awarding $254.5 million in Brownfields Grants to 265 communities, including four grants totaling $6.5 million across New Jersey. Today’s grants are supported by 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.
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 Initiative, 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 funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
“With today’s announcement, we’re turning blight into might for communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “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.”
“The brownfields program is a powerful tool that helps overburdened communities in New Jersey 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 shot in the arm – 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.”
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. Today’s announcement includes a former coal mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, that will become a 10-megawatt solar farm, and a former dump site in the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana that will be converted to a solar farm, saving local residents an estimated $2.8 million in energy costs over 25 years, among many others.
Today’s 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 funding includes:
- $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
- $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
- $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
- $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties. Supplemental funding for Revolving Loan Fund Grants is available to recipients that have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work.
Applicants selected for funding in New Jersey are:
- City of Asbury Park, Cleanup Grant of $500,000
- Camden Redevelopment Agency, Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Grant of $3,500,000
- Hamilton Township, Cleanup Grant of $500,000
- New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Assessment Grant of $2,000,000 for projects statewide
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.
Sen. Cory Booker said: “During my time as Mayor and as Senator, I have seen firsthand how the Brownfields program revitalizes communities. I am proud that the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is delivering significant investment in restoring brownfield sites across New Jersey. These federal dollars will protect the health and well-being of communities and promote unrealized economic opportunity.”
Sen. Bob Menendez said: “I have long championed critical federal programs like Brownfields and Superfund that help clean up contaminated waste sites, and I’m proud to have helped secure this funding in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Today’s announcement will help communities across the state not only protect the environment and improve public health, but also spur new growth and economic opportunity for residents. I thank the Biden Administration for their continued support for our families and their steadfast commitment to environmental justice for underserved communities and communities of color that too often shoulder the burden of legacy pollution.”
Rep. Donald Norcross said: “I helped pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve the quality of life for residents in South Jersey. Cleaning up old commercial and industrial sites to protect our neighborhoods from hazardous waste and polluted environments has been a longtime priority for me. I’m proud to have supported this funding and will continue to fight in Congress for policies that protect our environment and reduce the health burdens that Brownfield sites place on our communities.”
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for my home state of New Jersey. These funds, predominantly from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will allow families in New Jersey to rest a little easier knowing that some of the most contaminated sites in their area will soon be cleaned up, revitalized, and generating new jobs and economic opportunities. I’m especially glad to see that Asbury Park and Perth Amboy in my congressional district will directly benefit from this investment,” Rep. Frank Pallone said. “I’m grateful to Administrator Regan and the Biden Administration for working so closely with Congress to prioritize the Brownfields program, and I’ll keep fighting to ensure every community – particularly those that have been historically overlooked and underserved – receives the resources they need.”
“Our path toward continued, equitable economic growth is paved by the steps we take today to clean up and cultivate a healthy, safe environment,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “This funding will allow New Jersey to transform brownfields into vibrant, productive assets, especially in under-resourced communities. Investments in the remediation of these sites are investments in future opportunities for all New Jersey residents and businesses.”
“Economic development and environmental protection go hand-in-hand, and in New Jersey, the EPA Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant serves as a vital resource for revitalizing vacant properties,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “For too long, financial barriers have prevented entities from developing contaminated sites due to the limited funding available for site assessments, planning, and cleanup. Today’s funding announcement will allow the DEP and the EDA to increase current programmatic efforts to redevelop and remediate contaminated sites, sparking community-wide economic revitalization and furthering Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy and environment.”
City of Asbury Park Mayor John Moor said: “The City of Asbury Park is grateful to be the recipient of a $500,000 EPA Brownfields Clean Up Grant. This grant complements previous EPA Brownfield and Petroleum assessment grants we received which allowed us to do the necessary research and soil testing required to determine and assess contamination. We look forward to cleaning up these lots and putting them back into productive use.”
Olivette Simpson, Interim Executive Director of the Camden Redevelopment Agency, said: “The Camden Redevelopment Agency and the City of Camden are excited to have the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) select us for an award of $3.5 million in additional Brownfields Revolving Loan funding (RLF). For several decades, EPA has been a committed partner to the City and a true champion for the residents of Camden. EPA’s support has helped the CRA and the City to make substantial investments within our residential neighborhoods that have suffered the injustices associated with living among high concentrations of vacant, contaminated and underutilized property. These investments have allowed for the cleanup of new and existing recreation and park spaces and former abandoned factories where new housing will be constructed. With the supplemental EPA RLF funding, we are able to continue this important work to remediate former industrial and illegal dumping sites for productive and equitable reuse.”
“Supporting communities as they work to clean up, revitalize, and redevelop contaminated properties is critical for stimulating economic growth and building a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey has made great strides to ensure the equitable environmental and economic well-being of every New Jersey resident, regardless of zip-code. Funding from the EPA Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant will allow the NJEDA to provide greater support for communities looking to remediate vacant and underutilized properties, therefore prioritizing the environmental, social, and economic needs of New Jersey’s neighborhoods and distressed communities.”
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.
For more on Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields