Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
September 2003
EPA Announces Availability 
of Brownfields Grants

In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for Brownfields grants, including up to $50 million for the assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites. Brownfields are abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

The assessment grants are used to inventory, characterize and conduct planning relating to one or more Brownfield sites or as part of a community-wide effort. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what is considered a Brownfield, so communities may now focus on sites contaminated with petroleum, as well as lands scarred by mining. Since the beginning of the Brownfields Program, EPA has awarded 436 assessment grants totaling over $120 million.

The revolving loan fund grants allow communities to give funds to public and private organizations to clean-up Brownfields. The new brownfields law also allows loan fund officials to make subgrants to state and local governments or tribes and non-profit organizations to clean up sites they own. Since the beginning of the Brownfields Program, EPA has announced 143 revolving loan fund grants totaling over $115 million.

The Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America's 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Redevelopment approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, and rail corridors to recreational trails. Currently, more than 44 different Brownfields-to "greenspace" projects (such as parks, trails and nature preserves) are in various stages of completion. The Brownfields Program provides funding incentives, feasibility tools, and individual grants of up to $1 million to help states, tribes, communities and other organizations prevent, assess, safely clean up, and reuse Brownfields. EPA's Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $4.6 billion in private investment, helped create more than 20,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 4,000 properties.

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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