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EPA Awards Six Brownfields Redevelopment Grants in Maine; Part of $75.4 Million Funded Nationwide

Release Date: 06/15/04
Contact Information: Contact: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, (617) 918-1064

For Immediate Release: 6/15/04; Release # 04-06-13

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it is awarding $1.65 million to six Maine grantees to help them assess, clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated parcels known as Brownfields. The funding is among $75.4 million of Brownfields grants announced today by EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, including $8.6 million to New England alone. It is the largest Brownfields funding announcement in the agency's history.

"These grants will help spur the cleanup of abandoned, contaminated parcels all across New England," said Robert W. Varney, EPA New England regional administrator.

Grant funds will be awarded to five Maine communities and to the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission and will be used to determine if there are environmental problems at sites that would be an impediment to reuse:

    • City of Bath - $750,000
    • City of Brunswick - $150,000
    • City of Westbrook - $200,000
    • City of Portland - $150,000
    • Town of Sanford - $200,000
    • Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission - $200,000
EPA's Brownfields funds help communities assess contamination at abandoned and vacant sites and estimate the costs of cleaning up sites for redevelopment. Municipalities and select organizations can also receive funding for cleanup grants and to establish revolving loan programs that provide low interest loans for cleanups.

The funding for this and other projects is a direct result of Brownfields legislation signed by President Bush in 2002. 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.

Since 1995, EPA has provided more than $91 million for grants, site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs to dozens of communities and agencies across New England, including more than $8.6 million to Maine. Federal funding has leveraged another $38 million in private investments to cleanup and redevelop brownfields, and leveraged the addition of some 800 jobs in the state. 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 Brownfields program reflects a new model in environmental protection which is locally-based, forges strong public-private partnerships and promotes innovation and creativity. This approach empowers state and local environmental and redevelopment officials to oversee Brownfields activities, ensuring that local solutions are created to solve local problems.

EPA seeks to ensure that all citizens enjoy the benefits of a healthy environment and better quality of life, and that no community or neighborhood bares a heavier burden of environmental risks that may impact their health.

Related Information:
NE Brownfields Web site
Smart Growth
NE Brownfields Success Stories