McKinley Announces $1.3 Million in Brownfields Grants for First District

Grants Will Aid Clean-up and Redevelopment, Spur Economic Growth

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Washington, June 6, 2019 | comments
Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced seven grants to West Virginia communities from the EPA Brownfields Program. These grants will provide over $1 million in assistance to help communities assess and clean-up areas contaminated by previous industrial activity.  

“Across the First District and the rest of West Virginia we have hundreds of abandoned industrial sites that sit empty,” said Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. “Many of these sites would be attractive for redevelopment, but have legacy contamination issues that must be addressed first. The Brownfields Program has been an important tool to turn abandoned eyesores into economic opportunity.”

The seven grants to West Virginia include $1.3 million for communities in the First District including the Northern Panhandle, Morgantown, and Grafton.

“We have seen many examples of how Brownfields grants can be used to revitalize areas and transform them back to productive use,” said McKinley. “These investments will make a difference across West Virginia.”

McKinley has been a leading advocate for the Brownfields program and authored legislation to reform and improve the program that was signed into law in 2018.   

Background

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. 

The latest round of Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grants included seven grants to West Virginia:

  • Belomar Regional Council (Wheeling): $200,000  
  • Business Development Council of the Northern Panhandle (Brooke, Hancock, Jefferson Co., OH): $600,000
  • Coalfield Development Corporation (Huntington): $500,000
  • Ronceverte Development Corporation: $414,000
  • Save the Tygart Watershed Association (Grafton): $200,000
  • Wayne County Economic Development Corporation: $200,000
  • West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation (Morgantown): $300,000

In 2017, the House passed McKinley’s Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 3017). This bipartisan bill was signed into law in March 2018 as part of a larger funding package.

McKinley’s bill:

  • Made important clarifications related to sites covered under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
  • Expanded eligibility for non-profit organizations and eligible entities that owned these properties prior to the original enactment of the Brownfields Program so that they may receive brownfields grant funding.
  • Increased the limit for remediation grants from $200,000 to $500,000.
  • Created multipurpose grants, which will provide flexibility to communities trying to cleanup multiple brownfields sites within an area in the community.
  • Made it easier for small, rural, or disadvantaged communities and tribes to participate in the Brownfields program. 

For more information on the Brownfields program click here.

To view more information on the grants announced yesterday, click here.  


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