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EPA Helps ‘Green’ Humboldt County Community receives $50,000 in federal aid for pilot project

Release Date: 08/07/2008
Contact Information: Mary Simms (415) 947-4270 or

(8/7/2008 -- SAN FRANCISCO) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing technical assistance to Humboldt County, California to promote green planning and design under the Brownfields sustainability pilot program.

“With this assistance, an area that once turned out lumber will soon be turning out new economic opportunities for Humboldt County,” said Diane Strassmaier, Brownfields Coordinator in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Greener building methods will ensure that environmental and economic successes go hand in hand as this property is redeveloped.”

The pilot project will be managed by Humboldt County’s Community Development Services Department and will provide technical assistance in updating the draft master plan for the Samoa Peninsula to incorporate green building standards, and to provide recommended green building strategies.

“Pilot projects are providing sustainable assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment at properties throughout the country,” added Strassmaier. “This particular grant is especially exciting because it not only builds on the work done with prior EPA Brownfields assessment grants, but creates a green framework for redeveloping the area. This project was chosen due to the strong commitment made by the community in promoting green strategies and the potential for the work at this property to be replicated at other, similar areas throughout Northern California.“

The prior EPA Brownfields grant funded the county’s environmental assessment at the Samoa Peninsula. As a result of past mill operations and building maintenance, lead and other chemicals were found at the site. This technical assistance will help Humboldt County preserve the existing housing and convert the old lumber mill into new commercial, residential and recreational uses within the framework of a green master plan.

The grant is one of 16 nationwide providing more than $500,000 in technical assistance for Brownfields sustainability projects. Nationally, technical assistance will support sustainable activities such as the reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials, green building and infrastructure design, energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy development, and native landscaping.

The EPA is working with communities to incorporate sustainable redevelopment into the planning, design, and implementation of their Brownfields projects.

Brownfields are areas where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was signed into law in 2002 and has increased funding, expanded authority, and provided liability protection to help communities revitalize brownfields. The EPA provides grants, technical assistance and training to support local brownfields efforts.

For more information on the Brownfields Sustainability Pilots, go to: