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Montana communities receive $1.3M in EPA Brownfields grants

Release Date: 5/10/2005
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      Denver -- Revitalization efforts in Great Falls, Shelby and a six-county area in northeastern Montana were given a big boost today as EPA awarded communities $1.3M in Brownfields grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties.
These Montana communities are among grant recipients in 44 states that will share more than $75 million in EPA Brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from eyesores into community assets.

EPA has awarded the Great Falls Development Authority $1M in Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants for cleanup of the city's riverfront redevelopment area along the Missouri River. This area includes 14 separate sites with a range of contaminants such as pesticides, metals, asbestos, petroleum and solvents. Cleanup and development of these properties will reduce threats to the health and welfare of populations in surrounding neighborhoods. Redevelopment also will greatly improve the visual aesthetics of the neighborhood and create jobs close to where residents live. The area is considered a key location for office parks and medical service facilities, since it combines river frontage and parkland with access and proximity to two of Great Falls’ primary business districts.

EPA also awarded the City of Shelby a $200,000 Brownfields cleanup grant that will be used to draft a remedial design and remove asbestos and lead contamination at the Shelby Middle School at 133 6th Avenue South. To provide safe facilities for city services, Shelby is also working to clean up asbestos and lead-based paint contamination at two other abandoned schools. Once these sites are cleaned up, the city plans to use the properties for a variety of community services, including an educational center that will accommodate a Head Start Program, alternative secondary education classrooms, adult education programs and a satellite learning program.

The Great Northern Development Corporation, Inc., will receive a $100,000 assessment grant for petroleum sites in northeast Montana. The grant funds will be used to conduct three site assessments and will fund site-specific planning and community outreach activities. A recent inventory identified 72 petroleum release sites within the six-county area served by GNDC, many of which are abandoned. GNDC plans to complete a Regional Brownfields Plan to guide its brownfields efforts to remove eyesores, spur development and address health and safety issues.

"These grants give local partnerships the ability to address environmental issues at sites that are being transformed into vital assets," said EPA Assistant Regional Administrator Max Dodson. "In addition to improving the environment, they are investments in the future that help communities achieve important economic redevelopment and social goals."
Brownfields are sites where potentially harmful contaminants may be impeding revitalization. EPA's Brownfields program promotes redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since its inception in 1995, the program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants for cleanup worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 direct cleanup grants.

In addition to grants being announced today, participants in the Brownfields program gain access to the expertise and resources from more than 20 federal agencies. Nationwide, there are four categories of grants being awarded with 218 applicants, including three tribal nations, selected to receive 302 grants totaling $75.9 million. These include:
• 172 assessment grants, worth $33.6 million, to assess and plan for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfield sites;
• 106 cleanup grants, totaling $19.3 million, for recipients to clean up brownfield sites they own;
• 13 revolving loan fund grants, totaling $20.8 million, for communities to use to make low-interest loans for the cleanup of brownfield sites, and
• 11 job-training grants, valued at $2.2 million, for environmental training of people who live in brownfield communities.

Brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas station sites to housing. EPA's Brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties.

For detailed fact sheets on the individual grant recipients, visit:
For more information on the Brownfields program:
EPA is cosponsoring a National Brownfields Conference in Denver in November of 2005. For more information: