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EPA Awards Brownfields Redevelopment Money to Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Mass.; Part of $73 Million Funded Nationwide
Release Date: 06/25/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, 617-918-1064
BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it is awarding $400,000 to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission to help assess, clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated parcels known as Brownfields. The funding is among $73 million of Brownfields grants announced last week by EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, including $11.2 million to New England alone.
“These grants will help spur the cleanup of abandoned, contaminated parcels all across New England,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office.
This award will allow the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission to establish a brownfields steering committee, inventory and identify properties for assessment and perform assessment activities.
The funding for this and other projects is a direct result of Brownfields legislation signed by President Bush last year. In addition to making more sites eligible for cleanup, including petroleum contaminated sites, the legislation greatly increased funding to assist nonprofit groups, municipalities, regional agencies and states in various tasks associated with restoring and revitalizing Brownfields properties, of which there are thousands across New England. The law authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for Brownfield grants, including up to $50 million for assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites.
Under the EPA’s Brownfields Program, communities and other entities receive funding to assess contamination at abandoned and vacant sites and to estimate the costs of cleaning up sites for redevelopment. Organizations can also receive funding for cleanup grants and to establish revolving loan programs that provide low interest loans for cleanups.
Since 1995, EPA has provided more than $67 million of Brownfields assistance – for grants, site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs – to dozens of communities and agencies around New England, including more than $26 million to Massachusetts. The assistance has led to 630 site assessments, more than 100 cleanups and thousands of new jobs across the region.
Nationwide, 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. EPA estimates that every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace and every greenspace created, on average, has doubled the value of surrounding properties.
The following communities are members of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission: Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Merrimac,, Methuen, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, and West Newbury.
For more information, visit the following EPA Web sites:
Smart Growth: www.epa.gov/NE/ra/sprawl