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Maine Awarded Five EPA Brownfields Grants, Totaling $1.8 Million - Part of $18 Million Funded Across New England

Release Date: 05/15/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 15, 2007) – Five communities across Maine will be the recipients of $1.8 million awarded today by EPA to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from abandoned and blighted properties into community assets. The Maine communities are being awarded funding under EPA’s Brownfields program after being selected in a competitive national competition.

The EPA grants will help pay to assess, clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated parcels known as brownfields. The funding is among $70.7 million of Brownfields grants announced today by EPA, including more than $18 million within New England alone. Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

"EPA Brownfields grants are an economic engine, helping vitality to return to our communities, and this influx of new EPA funding will speed up that process.” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England regional office. "These funds will directly improve the quality of life in Maine communities where citizens are working to redevelop and put to good use abandoned, contaminated parcels."

In Maine, Brownfields grants to conduct community-wide site assessments and cleanups were made to:

City of Auburn - $200,000
Northern Maine Development Commission (Caribou) - $200,000
Caleb Development Corporation (North Berwick) - $200,000
Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission (Springvale) - $1 million
City of Westbrook - $200,000

This year, the Maine Brownfields grant recipients were among 202 organizations nationally that have been awarded one of the 294 assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants totaling $70.7 million. The five Maine grantees were selected from over 800 applicants across the country.

EPA's Brownfields program promotes redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since 1994, EPA has provided over $150 million in grants and other funding for site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs to dozens of communities and agencies in New England, including more than $17 million in Maine. 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.

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.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, Brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas station sites to housing. EPA's Brownfields assistance has led to more than $9.6 billion in private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 43,000 jobs and resulted in the assessment of more than 10,500 properties.

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