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EPA Announces Job Training Grant to Lewiston, Maine

Release Date: 03/31/04
Contact Information: Contact: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, (617) 918-1064

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2004; Release # 04-03-12

BOSTON - The city of Lewiston, Maine, is one of sixteen grantees nationally to be awarded EPA Brownfields Job Training funds today. EPA Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney presented a $200,000 check to Lewiston Mayor Lionel Guay, at a news conference at the Bates Mill in Lewiston.

Working with non-governmental organizations as its partners, the city anticipates teaching environmental-cleanup job skills to 85 participants and assist in finding professional placement for its graduates. The 171-hour training program will consist of hazardous waste and safety training, lead and asbestos abatement, and general construction, followed by courses in either hazardous waste transport or Brownfields redevelopment. Students will be recruited from Lewiston's Enterprise Community. The Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board Career Center will help place graduates in environmental jobs.

"This is the first Brownfields Job Training Grant that EPA has awarded in Maine," said Robert W. Varney, EPA regional administrator. "Graduates of this program will have employment opportunities in careers that help restore neighborhoods, protect public health and build strong communities."

Nationally, the Brownfields Job Training Grants will train 1,080 individuals living in low-income areas near Brownfields sites in 16 communities. To date, more than 60 percent of people completing Brownfields training programs have obtained employment in the environmental field with an average hourly wage of $12.84.

A total of $2.4 million will be awarded to 16 communities in 13 states (Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, Alabama, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Missouri), to provide environmental job training at Brownfields sites.

Today's announcement brings to 82 the number of grants awarded since the job training program started in 1998. Sixty-six pilots totaling $13.6 million are underway or complete; more than 1,800 participants have completed training; and more than 1,100 people have obtained employment in the environmental field. Applicants for the job training program must be located in or near a community that currently receives, or has received, financial assistance from EPA for Brownfields-related activities.

In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million per year for Brownfields grants, including up to $50 million for the assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites. This legislation allows EPA to provide training to expedite assessment, cleanup and preparation of Brownfields sites.

Brownfields are properties, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Brownfields revitalization provides communities with the tools to reduce environmental and health risks, reuse abandoned properties, take advantage of existing infrastructure, create a stronger local tax base, attract new businesses and jobs, create new recreational areas, and reduce the pressure to develop open spaces.

Since 1994, EPA New England has provided more than $75 million in all types of Brownfields grants to states, local governments and non-profit organizations under the Brownfields law. Maine has received a total of $5.8 million of these funds. The Brownfields program has leveraged more than $5 billion in public and private investment resulting from EPA's investment of less than $800 million. Every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace such as park and recreation areas.

More information on New England's Brownfields programs, please visit the following website:

Related Information:
Job Training Grant Program
Brownfields in New England