News Releases from Region 05
Indiana Finance Authority receives $300,000 from EPA to clean up contaminated properties
EPA highlights brownfield cleanups, Superfund accomplishments at event in Indianapolis
For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-052
INDIANAPOLIS – (June 10, 2020) Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency is providing $6.9 million in supplemental funding for 25 current successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (Revolving Loan) grantees including $300,000 for the Indiana Finance Authority.
Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede was joined today by representatives from the IFA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at an Indianapolis brownfield site to discuss the state’s robust revolving loan fund and brownfields cleanup program, and to highlight the issuance of EPA’s Annual Superfund National Accomplishments Report.
The RLF supplemental funds are being provided to communities that have demonstrated success in using their Revolving Loan program to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The funds will be used to continue their progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities.
“Every community receiving additional funding today from the EPA has Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction, meaning these cleanup activities at local brownfield sites will not only address legacy contamination, but also spur new economic opportunities where it is needed most,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This supplemental funding supports the Trump Administration’s commitment to reinvest in communities and provide opportunities by addressing properties with environmental challenges to improve human health and the environment.”
“The Finance Authority has demonstrated an outstanding ability to leverage funds to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites throughout Indiana,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “Brownfield cleanups can help stimulate economic redevelopment and community revitalization. During the past three years, one of EPA’s highest priorities has been picking up the pace to clean up brownfield sites and more highly-contaminated Superfund sites so they can be returned to productive reuse.”
All communities receiving supplemental funds have census tracks designated as federal Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority, and disadvantaged Americans. When coupled with leveraged funds, such as other Brownfield grants or Opportunity Funds, Revolving Loans can be a powerful tool for revitalizing a community of need.
When revolving loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned to the fund and lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. To date, EPA’s Revolving Loan grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.
"This award of RLF supplemental funding to the state will further advance Indiana's success in cleaning up brownfield sites and helping communities improve their economies," said Dan Huge, Indiana public finance director. "This funding will support Governor Holcomb’s priority to continue cultivating our strong and diverse economy in Indiana and serve as a vital aspect in turning blighted brownfield sites into neighborhood assets."
“The significant progress that has been made at these sites and others around the state would not be possible without our strong partnerships with local government and the EPA,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “We will continue our efforts to return these properties to productive use.”
EPA recently selected seven Indiana communities to receive a total of more than $2.7 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the EPA’s Brownfields program. The following communities and organizations received these brownfield grants: Crawfordsville; Greenfield; Henry County; Logansport; Terre Haute; the River Hills Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission for projects in Corydon, Charlestown and New Albany, and the Southern Indiana Development Commission for projects in Washington, Vincennes, and Bedford.
EPA also released its annual Superfund Accomplishments Report today documenting national achievements during 2019 to improve site cleanups, revitalize communities, innovate through science and technology, and engage communities. Across America, communities continue to experience the benefits of EPA’s Superfund program.
EPA’s work at the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago is highlighted in the national report. Last year, EPA excavated and restored 178 residential properties within the site. To date, EPA and the potentially responsible parties have cleaned up 765 properties – 96 percent of those that require cleanup. The agency continues to obtain access to the remaining properties that require cleanup. And plans have been announced to redevelop part of the site as a logistics and distribution campus which will bring jobs to the community and boost the local economy.
A brownfield is a property where 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.
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Under President Trump, over 70 percent of the communities selected for Brownfields grants in 2019 were located in Opportunity Zones. Brownfields grants have been shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfield sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
- Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfield sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.
As of May 2020, under the EPA Brownfields Program, 31,516 properties have been assessed and 92,047 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to attract more than 167,000 jobs and more than $32.6 billion of public and private funding.
The 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields
For more on Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more information on Opportunity Zones: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/opportunity-zones