Within the last month, the Environmental Protection Agency has incrementally announced the awarding of a total of nearly $66 million in grant funding for brownfields cleanup efforts across the country.
A brownfield is so defined as any property containing a hazardous site, contaminant or pollutant, hindering the possibility for the site’s redevelopment.
The agency has now just announced it is awarding a $600,000 brownfields assessment grant to Bernalillo County. As planned, the assessments will focus on several South Valley contaminated sites in the commercial corridors of Bridge Boulevard, Rio Boulevard, and Broadway Boulevard.
In May, the EPA awarded $600,000 in assessment grant funding to the El Paso Downtown Management District for contamination assessment efforts in an area of the city containing 85 acres of vacant property.
According to an EPA press release, the El Paso district’s “potential priority sites include three vacant retail buildings.”
It is estimated that there are currently more than 450,000 such brownfield sites in the U.S.
Launched in 1995, the agency’s Brownfields Program offers a number of different grant opportunities tailored to a community’s needs, including assessment grants for brownfields inventories; cleanup grants to fund actual cleanup activity; and area-wide planning grants allowing communities to develop brownfields implementation strategies.
More than 150 communities have been selected in the past few weeks to receive brownfields grants. The grants particularly target economically disadvantaged and under-served communities trying to clean up abandoned contaminated sites for their future redevelopment.
Over the course of the last 25 years, the EPA has provided some $1.6 billion in similar blight property assessment and cleanup grants
By Garry Boulard
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