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U.S. EPA awards $200,000 for Brownfields redevelopment to Humboldt County community

Release Date: 5/10/2005
Contact Information: Mark Merchant 415-947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Humboldt County city of Rio Dell $200,000 to redevelop Brownfield properties in the community.

Nationally, the EPA awarded 302 grants totaling $75.9 million today as part of the agency’s Brownfields program, which provides funding to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties.

“Funding for brownfields projects will allow communities to revitalize properties that have been sitting idle far too long,” said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office. “The program yields positive results by bringing new life to the under used properties in many communities.”

Rio Dell’s economy is based on the timber industry, which has declined over the past two decades. That decline – along with the impact of the rerouting of a major highway that diverted traffic away from local businesses in the city’s center – has left Rio Dell with blighted and potentially contaminated properties in the town center and its residential neighborhoods.

These sites are eyesores, magnets for vandalism and pose a threat of contaminant exposure especially for children. A number of properties also may threaten the water quality in the Eel River. Assessment of these brownfields properties represents the first step in re-establishing economic activity, a key factor that will help prevent future brownfields in Rio Dell.

“The Brownfields Program puts both property and people back to work,” EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said. “These grants will help communities across America convert eyesores into engines of economic rebirth.”

The 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 worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.

In addition to facilitating industrial and commercial redevelopment, 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. The program 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 more information on the grant recipients, go to: