McKinley Announces $1.4 Million in Brownfields Grants for First District

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

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Washington, May 6, 2020 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three 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. Many of these sites would be attractive for redevelopment, but have legacy contamination issues that must be addressed first,” said Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. “The Brownfields Program has been an important tool to turn abandoned eyesores and repurposing them into an economic opportunity.”

The three grants to West Virginia include $1.4 million for communities in the First District including the Northern Panhandle, Morgantown, and Grafton.

“This is exactly why I fought to reauthorize and expand the Brownfields Program. We have seen many examples of how these grants can be used to revitalize communities and spur additional economic development,” said Rep. 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 three grants to West Virginia

  • Brooke-Hancock Region XI Regional Planning and Development Council (Weirton and Wellsburg, WV and Steubenville and Mingo Juntion, OH: 600,000
  • WVU Research Corporation (Grafton, WV): $300,000
  • West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation (Morgantown): $500,000

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,click here.  
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