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Release Date: 03/17/1997
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON -- During a press conference held at the Winchester Rifle Plant in New Haven today, EPA Deputy Administrator Fred Hansen and John P. DeVillars, regional administrator of the EPA's New England office, joined Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Christopher Dodd and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to pledge support for $2 billion legislation that would create tax incentives for those interested in redeveloping "brownfields" throughout the country.

The legislation, which is being sponsored by Sen. Lieberman and co-sponsored by Sen. Dodd, will return to productive use an estimated 30,000 contaminated sites over the next decade by allowing taxpayers who purchase contaminated properties to deduct the cost of cleaning up brownfields in the year that cleanup expenses occur. A centerpiece of the Clinton Administration's environmental agenda, the brownfields initiative promotes the return of unproductive commercial and industrial sites to economic use, and ensures that future development is achieved in a sustainable, environmentally sound manner.

Hansen also announced the awarding of $120,000 in brownfields funding to go toward redeveloping the rifle plant and other contaminated properties in New Haven, as well as an additional $560,000 that will be used for cleaning the environment while promoting economic development throughout Connecticut.

New Haven contains about 130 acres of industrial land occupied by outmoded or abandoned factories that are known or suspected to be contaminated. A recent study showed that 22 of these properties, representing 82 acres, would be suitable for redevelopment if cleaned up.

At a separate event held at the Southern New England Telephone office at One Science Park, Hansen and DeVillars presented the rest of the grant recipients with a $686,000 check for a variety of projects ranging from helping businesses -- such as printers -- cut down on the amount of pollution they produce to hiring an environmental community organizer to work in a disadvantaged section of North Hartford to instilling environmental awareness in Connecticut's school children.

"Common sense and cost effectiveness are behind EPA's Brownfields Action Agenda, a cornerstone of the Clinton Administration's commitment to urban revitalization," Hansen said. "By doing everything we can to revitalize areas such as New Haven, we clean up the environment, we boost the economy, but most of all we create hope."

"A $686,000 investment in the future of Connecticut's environment -- and a clean economy -- is tax payers' dollars well spent," DeVillars said. "Combined with the ingenuity and dedication of their recipients, these grant dollars will go a long way in protecting, preserving and promoting this state's environment for years to come. Whether it's revitalizing abandoned contaminated properties, pollution prevention or environmental education, we know we can expect a lot from Connecticut."

"This demonstrates widespread support for cleaning up brownfields," Lieberman said. "We need an urban landscape that is not littered with abandoned lots and vacant properties ... support will bring economic growth back to these areas and uplift the surrounding community."

"This initiative can turn barren ground into fertile economic promise for New Haven and Connecticut," said Dodd. "In short -- it sows the seeds of environmental and economic rebirth, which ultimately means jobs and a cleaner, healthier and better environment for our state and children."

"Efforts to recycle land and business structures are simply good economics -- we create jobs, we help the environment, and we improve our quality of life," DeLauro said. "I am pleased to be part of efforts to clean up these brownfields sites."

"The identification, cleanup and return of urban sites to productive use is essential to the revitalization of Connecticut's cities," said DEP Assistant Commissioner David Leff. "There are many sites throughout Connecticut that present outstanding redevelopment potential, but go undeveloped due to the fear of assuming an environmental cleanup. However, the department's remediation programs, complemented by federal brownfields initiatives, expedite the cleanup of these undesirable properties, making them more attractive to developers while preserving our green areas."

The following is a breakdown of the grants the EPA is awarding to Connecticut non-profits, businesses and other organizations for use in 1997:

Assistance and Pollution Prevention
$80,000 -- Connecticut DEP Testing Compost Standards

This award will work to expand the use of compost products in the state. Four state agencies will participate in field testing compost specifications developed by the Coalition of New England Governors. (Contact: Kim Trella, 860/424-3229)

$50,000 -- Connecticut Technical Assistance Program: Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance Program

Funds will be used to provide on-site technical assistance to metal finishers, electronics manufacturers, and other Connecticut industry. The program will also offer telephone assistance, produce a newsletter and hold an annual conference with a local trade association. (Contact: Rita Lomasney, 860/ 241-0777)

$30,000 -- Connecticut DEP: Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance for Printers

This project will build on last year's grant to the state to train printers in compliance and pollution prevention issues. Monies will be used to provide technical assistance and outreach to industries (dye manufacturers, graphic design companies, and industrial laundries) that influence the wastes generated by printers. (Contact: Elise Bennett, 860/424-3245)

$18,203 -- Mohegan SW Planning & Training

Funds will be used to establish a solid waste managment plan for the Mohegan Sun Casino. (Contact: Norman Richards, 860/848-6122)

Environmental Justice/Urban Programs

$120,890 -- ONE CHANE, INC.

This cooperative agreement between EPA and ONE/CHANE will hire a community environmental organizer to provide leadership, training, education, and organization/infrastructure development to the residents of North Hartford. The organizer will work with 26 block captains in the North Hartord area and others to develop community based programs for environmental awareness, as well as youth environmental restoration and education programs. (Contact: Larry Charles, 860/525-0190)

$25,000 -- Holcomb Farm, Inc.

The Friends Of The Holcomb Farm, Inc., and ONE/CHANE have teamed to develop the Chain Links Youth Environmental Education Program. The Holcomb Farm Environmental Learning Center offers year round programs for students of all ages, soci-economic backgrounds and interests using the 320-acre farm and forest as an outdoor classroom. The program will initiate a multi-cultural environmental education program that brings together youth from North Hartford, Granby and surrounding rural and suburban communities. (Contact: Larry Charles,203/525-0190)

$15,000 -- Citizen Research Education Network (CREN)

CREN works with the Coalition to Strengthen the Sheldon/Charter Oak Neighborhood to tackle urgent neighborhood problems, such as land use and environmental and safety concerns. CREN plans to use the grant to build a relationship between the state and neighboring communities in Hartford, promote the goal of sustainable development, and develop a model environmental assistance program for neighbors and urban areas across the state. (Contact - Kim McClain, 860/249-1416)

$20,000 -- New Haven Ecology Project
c/o West Rock Nature Center
New Haven

This organization has developed education programs for inner-city youth that teach about the environment in order to foster responsibility, leadership and critical thinking skills. The project will establish a seasonal calendar of workshops developed by neighboring residents of a small pilot farm that teaches ecology, gardening, nutrition and soil and water testing. (Contact - Oliver Barton, 203/946-8017)

$19,898 -- Save the Sound
Stamford, Conn.

The organization is dedicated to restoration, preservation and appreciation of Long Island Sound and its watershed through education, research and advocacy. Since 1994, the organization has focused on assisting inner-city residents of Bridgeport, Conn., in taking action to improve the water quality of the Long Island Sound harbors by expanding their participation in a volunteer water quality monitoring program. (Contact - T. Robbins Brown, 203/327-9786)

Economic Redevelopment
$120,000 -- Brownfields Grant to City of New Haven
The grant will help develop remediation plans, determine whether buildings should be demolished or renovated, and allow the city to work with local businesses and financial communities to promote redevelopment. New Haven contains about 130 acres of industrial land occupied by outmoded or abandoned factories that are known or suspected to be contaminated. A recent study showed that 22 of these properties, representing 82 acres, would be suitable for redevelopment if cleaned up. (Contact: Helen Rosenberg, 203/946-5889)

$90,000 -- Brownfields Grant to the Naugatuck Valley Regional Planning Agency
The grant will allow the Valley Regional Planning Agency to assess and remediate a portion of the 168 contaminated properties in the area. The agency will establish a Regional Environmental Redevelopment Agency to act as the primary brownfields broker and redevelopment facilitator for the sites. (Contact: Arthur Bogen, 203/735-8688)

$40,000 -- Brownfields Site Assessment for City of Vernon
In Vernon, an upcoming EPA site assessment will allow the town to continue studying a former sweater manufacturing facility for potential redevelopment. Several developers have expressed an interest in the site to the town, who is committed to developing the property. (Contact: Tony Muro)

$40,000 -- Brownfields Site Assessment for City of Hartford
In Hartford, EPA investigators will perform a site assessment at an abandoned car wash site where a local community organization wants to construct a badly needed grocery store. Most of the site is owned by the City of Hartford. (Contact: Hartford Revelopment Office, 860/722-6450)

Environmental Education
$12,500 -- Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Water Management

This grant will go toward creating an environmental issues travelling exhibit to be used in state schools. (Contact: Jim Murphy, (860/424-3641)

$5,000 -- Save the Sound

A series of Long Island Sound watershed workshops will be held for Connecticut elementary school teachers. (Contact: T. Robbins Brown, 203/327-9786)