Washington, DC – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 151 communities across the nation have been selected to receive brownfield grant awards totaling $65.6 million through EPA’s Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. You can read Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden’s statement on this announcement, here.
What is a Brownfield, you ask? Brownfields sites are often abandoned, closed or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities. Examples include abandoned factories, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry-cleaning establishment or gas station. EPA estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields across the United States and each of these sites has the potential to encourage economic development in its local community. For instance, the City of Houston, Texas even built Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros, on a former brownfield site.
The Brownfields Program has a history of success boosting local economies and promoting clean land. . Communities that previously received brownfields grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields; successfully leveraging 8.5 jobs per $100,000 of EPA brownfield grant funds spent. Brownfields grant funding is found to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
- Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15 percent following cleanup.
Nearly two years ago, Congress passed into law the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act. The Energy and Commerce Committee took bipartisan action to strengthen the Brownfields Program so communities could continue to realize their full potential. This bipartisan reauthorization led by E&C Republicans made important improvements to the program, such as increasing the limit of individual cleanup grants to $500,000 and giving EPA the authority to use Brownfields funding for multipurpose grants.
Click here to learn more about the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act.