The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has committed $400,000 to help the City of New York fund hazardous substance cleanups in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. The grant, which will be added to New York City's Revolving Loan Fund, will supplement the city's brownfield remediation efforts, which create jobs in addition to protecting public health and the environment.
Many New York City communities slammed by Hurricane Sandy are struggling to rebuild and develop beneficial reuses on their brownfield sites even three years after the storm. With the help of the EPA funding, the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation will focus on addressing cleanup needs, such as community facilities, affordable housing and open space in these particularly distressed neighborhoods.
"This EPA funding will support New York City's work to protect public health and the environment by cleaning up contaminated properties in some of the City's poorest communities," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.
Brownfields revolving loan funds like City of New York's back loans and grants that make cleanup activities possible at brownfield sites across the country. When these loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned to the fund and re-loaned to other borrowers. This provides communities with an ongoing source of capital that can power their efforts cleaning up brownfield sites.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. The EPA's Brownfields program targets these sites to encourage redevelopment, and to help local communities find a productive use for contaminated properties.
In the 20 years since the EPA's Brownfields Program was founded, more than $23.3 billion has been invested from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities, resulting in approximately 109,787 new jobs nationwide.