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EPA Promotes Brownfields Revitalization with Grant to Essex County; New Jersey to Receive Nearly $1 Million

Release Date: 06/15/2004
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(#04083) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny today highlighted the Agency's national announcement of over $75 million in grants to promote brownfields revitalization with the presentation of $400,000 brownfields grant to Essex County, New Jersey. Essex County will use the funds to identify and assess former industrial and potentially contaminated sites. In addition, EPA is awarding $200,000 to Roselle for site assessments, $200,000 to Trenton for cleanups and $148,000 to the state of New Jersey for site assessments; this brings the total for brownfields grants awarded this year in New Jersey to nearly $1 million.

"The brownfields program reflects a new model in environmental protection that is locally-based, forges strong public-private partnerships, and promotes innovation and creativity," said Jane M. Kenny. "It's an approach that creates opportunities to solve local problems for redevelopment with local solutions."

Essex County has more than 200 brownfields sites that could be contaminated. The county received a $200,000 EPA Brownfields Demonstration Pilot Grant in 2000 to conduct preliminary assessments of its brownfields. In 2001, the Essex County Improvement Authority received $1 million from the EPA Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund that it will use to establish a loan program for cleanups. The new EPA funds will be used by the county to assess brownfields sites for hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. In addition, the county plans to take an area-wide approach to assessing clusters of adjoining brownfields sites, and to augment and expand its inventory of existing brownfields.

Through its brownfields program, EPA provides communities the tools they need to reclaim and restore thousands of brownfields sites, including sites impacted by petroleum that present relatively low risks to people's health. Four competitive grants programs provide funding to eligible applicants for brownfields assessments, cleanups and job training; and revolving loan funds. The brownfields program allows local governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for funding, greatly expanding the pool eligible for assistance.

To date, EPA has awarded over $20 million to New Jersey grantees through the various brownfields grant programs. Nationwide, the Agency has leveraged more than $5.8 billion in private investment, helped create more than 27,000 jobs and facilitated the assessment of more than 4500 properties.