County receives $300000 to investigate former industrial sites

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt AP

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt AP

A brownfields site is a property that contains a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant, which hinders the potential to reuse or redevelop the site.

"We'll be able to take properties that aren't quite suitable for development and take the steps needed to bring them up to a level that makes them suitable", City Manager Cole O'Donnell said.

Eugene was one of 172 communites nationally picked for brownfields cleanup money this year totalling $56.8 million.

It is expected that a portion of properties tested will be put back into active economic use, with Adler citing estimates that every dollar of brownfield investment unlocks another $16 in eventual jobs and economic opportunities. The maximum award allowed under the program's rules was $300,000.

· Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments - $300,000 to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans and support community outreach. Approximately $17.5 million of the assessment and cleanup funding announced will benefit small and rural communities with populations less than 10,000.

Bennett said that PADD now has 15 communities who have identified over 200 potential Brownfields sites with the aid of Panhandle Public Health District, private Bownfields consultants, as well as residents and local community leaders. These funds will provide communities with resources necessary to determine the extent of site contamination, remove environmental uncertainties and clean up contaminated properties where needed.

According to the EPA, addressing and cleaning up Brownfield sites boosts local economies and leverages redevelopment jobs, while also protecting public health and the environment.

"This funding is strictly for doing projects, such as an updated brownfield (former industrial or commercial site) inventory, environmental Phase I and II assessments, and some remediation", SOPA Executive Director Jason Kester stated.

The EPA also said redevelopment of the property will reduce forest biomass burning, which degrades air quality, and will prevent contamination on the site from entering local waterways. A study analyzing data near 48 brownfield sites shows an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup.

"This proposed rule is one of almost two dozen significant regulatory reform actions I have taken during my short time as EPA administrator to protect the environment, jobs and affordable, reliable energy", Pruitt said.

"As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding have been leveraged as a result of assessment grants and other EPA brownfields grants", an EPA release reported.

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