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EPA Joins U.S. Representative LaFalce and Mayor Galie in Niagara Falls, New York For National Brownfields Pilot Project Award

Release Date: 12/11/1997
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(#97171) NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials joined U.S. Representative John La Falce to present Mayor James Galie and the City of Niagara Falls with a check for almost $200,000 under EPA's national Brownfields Pilot Program. The goal of the Brownfields Pilot Program is the renewal of industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. The money is being used for site assessments and assessment related activities.

Mr. Richard Caspe, Director of EPA Region 2's Superfund program, presented the grant check at City Hall on Main Street. "The Brownfields program represents an opportunity to return dormant lands to productivity," said Mr. Caspe. "To make them clean, job-creating, profit-producing assets once more. It provides the opportunity to restore hope to the neighborhoods that host these sites."

Idle manufacturing sites are a major problem for the City of Niagara Falls. Seventeen of these former sites, encompassing 386 acres, are suspected of containing contaminated soil or groundwater and are unmarketable as a result of the environmental stigma. No tracts of undeveloped, uncontaminated land remain for development within the city; therefore, brownfields cleanup is imperative for economic growth.

Of the 17 contaminated sites, four have been targeted for the pilot. Because the four sites are within the city's state-designated Economic Development Zone, local government will be able to offer tax credits and utility rate reductions to new or expanding businesses. The Brownfields project will also support a permanent Environmental Awareness Center to serve as an information clearinghouse.

Control of these projects rests at the community level. Local officials, bankers, developers and community representatives define the problems and design the solutions. EPA's role is to support and facilitate this process and to act as a catalyst for change.

EPA has approximately $85 million in this year's budget to expand the program nationally by 100 new Brownfields site assessment pilot projects over the next two years. Several hundred municipalities applied for Brownfields grants in 1996 and 1997. There are a 121 municipalities now participating in the National Brownfields Pilot Program, including seven cities in New York, in addition to Niagara Falls; -- Buffalo, New York City, Rome, Rochester, Elmira and Glen Cove.

The findings and experience from the Niagara Falls project and other pilots will help guide EPA's future efforts to stimulate economic redevelopment through environmental cleanup.

For more information contact:
Mike Basile, Press Office
EPA Region 2 Niagara Field Office
345 third Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Voice: 716-285-8842 FAX: 716-285-8788 E-Mail: