On May 25, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $315 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites across the country while advancing environmental justice.
EPA selected 262 communities to receive 267 grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this is the largest ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs.
“I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fix our nation’s infrastructure, create good paying jobs, and build a cleaner, safer, and more resilient environment for the next generation. This funding will allow communities across Wisconsin to address legacy pollution that prevents these sites from being redeveloped into affordable housing, new businesses, or green spaces,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin.
“By cleaning up legacy pollution, we can attract businesses to invest in and develop these sites, increase the tax base for cities like Milwaukee, spur job creation, and revitalize our neighborhoods,” she added.
In addition, the agency is announcing $45 million in non-competitive supplemental funding to 22 successful existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant programs to help expedite their continued work at sites across the country by extending the capacity of the program to provide more funding for additional cleanups.
EPA is also announcing selections of five Brownfields Technical Assistance Providers and three recipients of Brownfields Research Grants, who are receiving $55 million to strengthen technical assistance.
These investments totaling $315 million are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
“We’re working across the country to revitalize what were once dangerous and polluted sites in overburdened communities into more sustainable and environmentally just places that serve as community assets. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we’re moving further and faster than ever before to clean up contaminated sites, spur economic redevelopment, and deliver relief that so many communities have been waiting for,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
“This critical wave of investments is the largest in Brownfields history and will accelerate our work to protect the people and the planet by transforming what was once blight into might,” he continued.
Regan announced the brownfields funding for communities with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the EPA has selected the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) to receive $5.5 million in funds as part of the MARC Grant program for brownfields assessment and clean up.
Administrator Regan and Senator Baldwin visited one of the sites that will be cleaned up thanks to today’s investment. The cleanup of this site will complement other EPA investments in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, which is a key area disproportionately impacted by legacy pollution.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is transforming brownfields into areas of growth and promise,” said Representative Gwen Moore. “I am so proud to support these investments in Milwaukee, which will support healthier communities and lift up the well-being of my constituents.”
Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects.
As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.
Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.
EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities.
The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of its work. Approximately 84% of the MARC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.
Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Program Selection
EPA announced 262 communities that have been selected to receive 267 grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Programs. This represents the highest funding level ever announced in the history of the Brownfields Program.
Non-competitive Supplemental Funding Through the Existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Program
The Agency is announcing $45 million in non-competitive supplemental funding to 22 successful existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant programs that have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. RLF Grants provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. The funding announced today will help communities continue to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfield sites.
Brownfields Technical Assistance Providers and Research Grants
EPA is also announcing funding selection for two Brownfields technical assistance opportunities. The Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) selectees provide specialized technical knowledge, research, and training to help stakeholders understand brownfields-related subject matter, and guide them through the brownfield assessment, clean-up, and revitalization process. This assistance is a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities. This technical assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities.
The two funding opportunities announced today come entirely from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and include the following:
EPA selected five Technical Assistance Providers for a total of $53 million in grants to provide training and technical assistance to communities across the country under the Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program. This investment will fund non-profit technical assistance providers in all ten EPA regions. Read more about this year’s TAB selectees.
EPA is also expanding the scope of its technical assistance offerings under the Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program to include three new subject-specific grants totaling $2 million in three areas, including providing technical assistance to nonprofits seeking to reuse Brownfields; provide research, outreach, and guidance on minimizing displacement resulting from brownfields redevelopment; and providing outreach and guidance on land banking tactics for brownfields revitalization.
EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment.
Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, nearly 260,000 jobs. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 8-11, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).