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ICYMI:Lobster and industrial cleanups on menu during EPA official’s visit

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler spent Thursday in Maine touring contaminated "brownfield" sites and lobster businesses.

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Penelope Overton 
Portland Press Herald 
August 20, 2020

He loved the view of a rehabbed Portland riverfront and the plan for a turtle touch-tank at the children’s museum, but what really thrilled America’s top environmental regulator on a visit to Thompson’s Point Thursday was the 20-to-1 return on the government’s investment in its two-decade cleanup.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has invested $1.8 million into cleaning up this once-blighted 33-acre parcel and preparing it for redevelopment into an eclectic mix of brew pubs and wineries, hotels and housing, event space and museums. Developers used that federal funding as leverage to raise another $40 million in private funding.

“That’s more than 20-to-1 return on investment, and one of the best returns on investment I’ve seen from a government grant program,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “Nationally, our (Brownfields) program typically sees a return on investment of 15 to 1. … A great success story for the people who live and work here in Portland.”

Wheeler made three other stops on his overnight visit: the Maine Port Authority in Portland, the recipient of a $500,000 cleanup grant for its cold storage project; the Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. in Kennebunkport, where he toured the pound and packing line; and the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, where he announced a suspension on marine diesel engine restrictions.

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