BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency celebrated three recipients of Brownfields grants in Vermont. This year, Vermont entities received $700,000 for assessment and cleanup of Brownfield sites. These communities are among 172 across the country to receive EPA Brownfields funding.
Island Holdings LLC will receive $200,000 for cleanup at the Robertson Paper Mill in Bellows Falls. This site used to be a paper mill, foundry and machine shop and it is contaminated with petroleum, asbestos, heavy metals, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and arsenic. This grant will be used to help clean up the property, preparing it for future reuse.
The Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center is getting $200,000 for cleanup at 11 Arch Street in Brattleboro. This site was formerly used as an electric power generating station and substation, machine shop and grist mill, and is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, perchloroethene, and PCBs. This cleanup grant will contribute to the cleanup of contamination, which will help get the site on the right track for future redevelopment.
The Bennington County Regional Commission is getting $300,000 for assessment grants that will be used to conduct up to seven environmental site assessments, and prepare three or four cleanup plans. Environmental assessments are important first steps to cleanup and re-development. They help to evaluate site conditions so that plans can be made for future reuse.
“Assessing and cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites are the first steps to revitalizing unused properties in communities across Vermont, and EPA is very proud to be part of that process,” said EPA regional administrator Deb Szaro.
“Vermont’s downtowns and village centers have long been home to our commerce, to our industry and to our population”, said Emily Boedecker, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “Investing in remediation of our brownfields brings economic activity back into the heart of our communities and enhances community vitality. The partnership we are celebrating today between the EPA, the state, and local communities is essential to the continued success of this program.”
“We at the BFADC in Rockingham are so grateful to be one of the three recipients of this year’s EPA grant award in Vermont. The recognition of the significance of this EPA Cleanup project in our Historic Designated Downtown, is essential to having even greater support from the State of Vermont, Windham County and the Federal government. This project is very important to the town at large because the property will go from an economic, environmental and public safety liability to being an asset and a fresh palette for appropriate development. There are fewer and fewer industrial zones in Vermont, and this project creates an opportunity for a new structure to exist within such zoning. Mostly, we are thankful to all those that made this possible and look forward to more collective support with BFADC’s positive economic development in our community,” said Emmett Dunbar executive director of BFADC.
“This grant will enable the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center to begin the process of transforming a neglected, contaminated property in the heart of downtown Brattleboro into a valuable community asset.,” said director of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center Danny Litchtenfeld. “It will jumpstart an ambitious redevelopment project that will benefit local residents and visitors to Brattleboro for decades to come. Thanks to the EPA and our Congressional delegation, what is now a boarded-up eyesore will soon become a thriving hub of cultural and economic activity.”
“We are very excited to get this much-needed grant to help revitalize key brownfields properties in Bennington County. The site assessment process clears the way to redevelop these sites so they can once again generate economic activity,” said Jim Henderson the environmental program manager, Bennington County Regional Commission.
Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $10.4 million for 32 communities to assess or clean brownfields, as well as $750,000 for technical assistance to six communities. A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.
In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 382 assessment grants totaling $103.9 million, 73 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $90 million and 290 cleanup grants totaling $69.9 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $2.4 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for nearly 15,499 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged as a result of assessment grants and other EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.