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U.S. EPA Awards $200,000 to L.A. for Brownfields Job Training

Release Date: 5/16/2003
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, (415) 947-4248; or Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded a $200,000 grant to the city of Los Angeles to provide environmental job training at Brownfields sites.

The Los Angeles Community Development Department has targeted the Wilmington industrial tract near the Port of Los Angeles, the Goodyear tract in South Central and the Crown Coach site near East Los Angeles for assessment, cleanup and redevelopment. The city plans to train 50 students, achieve an 80 percent placement rate, and track students for a full year.

The seven-week, 300-hour job training program consists of hazardous waste handling, innovative environmental technologies, lead abatement, and asbestos abatement. Recruitment will focus on low-income residents and placement will be conducted by the city=s WorkSource Centers.

"This job training grant will revitalize both the neighborhoods and the economy," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "It gives the city of Los Angeles an opportunity to train residents in the skills necessary to help clean up their communities and pursue environmental careers. This will benefit the community."

"These funds will help the city, in partnership with the EPA, improve both the economic and environmental health of these targeted areas," said Detrich Allen, general manager of the city’s Environmental Affairs Department.

The job training grants are used to teach environmental cleanup job skills to individuals living in low-income areas near Brownfields sites. The majority of participants who successfully complete the training program go on to pursue careers with environmental firms and organizations.

Since the job training program started in 1998, the EPA has awarded 56 job training pilots totaling $10.7 million; 1366 participants have completed training; and 903 participants have obtained employment in the environmental field with an average hourly wage of $12.55. Applicants for the Job Training program must be located in or near a community that currently receives, or has received, financial assistance from the 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. The new legislation allows the EPA to provide training to expedite assessment, remediation and preparation of Brownfields sites.

Brownfields are abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

Since its inception in 1995, the Brownfields Program has awarded, including today’s, 645 grants to assess Brownfields sites and to make loans to conduct cleanups. To date, the EPA's Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $4.6 billion in private investment, helped create more than 20,000 jobs and has resulted in the assessment of more than 4,000 properties. Every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace such as park and recreation areas.

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