For nearly two decades the EPA has helped revitalize abandoned and polluted properties across the U.S. through their brownfields program. The EPA’s news release indicates that the program continues to thrive, as they just received $76 million in new investments. These new investments will help revitalize two Iowa towns: Arlington and Council Bluffs.
In Arlington the beneficiary is an old school, while in Council Bluffs the Katelman steel fabrication will receive clean up through this project; both properties were granted $200,000 in funding. In addition to the environmental benefits of these undertakings, the brownfields program also helps boost the economy:
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. These investments help leverage redevelopment, promote economic growth and lead to job creation. Since its inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $16.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 70,000 jobs. Brownfields grants also target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.
Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Michigan describes the tremendous success of the brownfields program in their city:
“For a struggling auto community at the epicenter of the national economic crisis, we depend on the power of brownfields funding to energize Lansing’s local economy and create jobs,” said Mayor Virg Bernero. “With the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who played a key role in an extraordinary public-private partnership, we have transformed an old, abandoned power plant on our downtown riverfront into a new engine of prosperity and job growth for Michigan. More than 1,500 people spent 800,000 work-hours to complete this massive project, and another thousand permanent jobs will be retained and created in Lansing over the next few years. With the additional funds announced today, we will be able to replicate this success and put even more of our citizens back to work.”