Kansas’ Flint Hills Area Council selected to receive $500,000 as Biden administration announces $254 million to tackle polluted brownfields

The selected grant targets sites in the Kansas communities of Junction City, Manhattan and Ogden

LENEXA, KAN. (MAY 17, 2022) – The Biden administration, through the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced that the Flint Hills Regional Council Inc. of Kansas had been selected to receive $500,000 of the $254.5 million dollars in brownfield grants for 265 selected communities.

The Flint Hills Regional Council has been selected for community-wide assessment work and the development of reuse plans for the Kansas towns of Junction City, Manhattan and Ogden. Priority assessment sites in these cities include: historic downtown Junction City along the Republican River; Manhattan’s Central East and Midtown neighborhoods; and the Riley Avenue Revitalization Area in Ogden.

These grants are supported by President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization and create jobs by cleaning up brownfields that are contaminated, polluted or dangerous.

Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings contaminated with asbestos or lead, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once handled hazardous chemicals. Once cleared, former brownfields can be redeveloped into productive uses, such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks and solar farms.

Brownfields program moves President Biden forward Justice40 Initiativewhich aims to provide at least 40% of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86% of communities selected to receive funding through today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.

“With today’s announcement, we are turning plague into power for communities across America,” mentioned EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s Brownfields program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially hazardous sites into productive economic contributors. Thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we are dramatically increasing our investments in communities, with the bulk of our funding going to places that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long.

“EPA Region 7 is proud to announce the selection of the Flint Hills Regional Council for a Brownfields grant,” said Meghan A. McCollister, EPA Region 7 Administrator. “The Brownfields program has a proven track record of empowering communities through benefits ranging from local job creation to increased property values. This investment will uplift Flint Hills residents and bring measurable and meaningful change to those who live in rural Flint Hills communities.

“The region is excited about our selection for the grant, continued long-term support and partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, and the work of the Flint Hills Regional Council to submit a successful application,” said Geary County, Kansas, Commission Chair Trish Giordano. “This is another example of the value of collaboration in revitalizing, sustaining and growing rural areas. The expected results will benefit Flint Hills residents and business, property, and building owners by creating an inventory of community assets, tracking market trends, and detailing opportunities for redevelopment.

EPA Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs, such as the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative, are also helping to build the clean energy economy. Today’s announcement includes a former coal mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania that will become a 10-megawatt solar farm, and a former landfill in the Indian community of Fort Belknap in Montana that will be converted into a solar farm, which will save local residents approximately $2.8 million in energy costs over 25 years, among many others.

Today’s announcement includes approximately $180 million from President Biden’s historic $1.5 billion bipartisan Infrastructure Act investment to help turn brownfields across the country into hubs. economic growth and job creation, as well as more than $75 million from fiscal year 2022 appropriations.

Funding includes:

  • $112.8 million for 183 individuals selected for the Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments and community outreach.
  • $18.2 million for 36 individuals selected for the Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to conduct cleanup activities on brownfields owned by the recipient.
  • $16.3 million for 17 people selected for Revolving Loan Fund grants, which provide funds for grantees to provide loans and sub-grants to carry out clean-up activities on brownfield sites.
  • $107 million for 39 High Performance Recipients of Revolving Loan Fund grants to help communities continue their work delivering cleanup and redevelopment projects on brownfield sites. Additional funding for Revolving Loan Fund grants is available for grantees who have exhausted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready to go.

The list of selected candidates is available in line.

Since its creation in 1995, EPA investments in brownfields have generated more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has resulted in significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:

  • To date, this funding has led to over 183,000 jobs in cleaning, construction and remodeling, and more 9,500 properties were prepared for reuse.
  • According to grant recipient reports, grantees benefited on average $20.43 for every EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields grant funds spent on assessment, cleanup and cooperative agreements on the revolving loan fund.
  • Additionally, a peer-reviewed academic study found that the value of residential properties near brownfields increased by 5% to 15% following clean-up activities.
  • Finally, by analyzing data near 48 brownfield sites, the EPA found an estimate $29-97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after the cleanup – two to seven times more than the EPA’s $12.4 million went to clean up these brownfields.

“The EPA’s Brownfields program is the true embodiment of turning adversity into opportunity – it takes contaminated and potentially hazardous places and turns them into thriving generators of economic prosperity,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper. “Today’s announcement is great news for the nation, as we unveil vital investments from our bipartisan Infrastructure Act to help more communities benefit from this transformative program.”

“Today’s announcement is welcome news for the 149 million Americans who live within 3 miles of a brownfield site,” said Frank Pallone, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “These funds, primarily from our bipartisan Infrastructure Act, will give families across the country a little easier rest, knowing that some of the most contaminated sites in their region will soon be cleaned up, revitalized and generating new jobs. and economic opportunities. I am grateful to Administrator Regan and the Biden administration for working so closely with Congress to prioritize the Brownfields agenda, and I will continue to fight to ensure that every community — especially those that have historically been neglected and underserved – receives the resources it needs. ”

“Last year, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provided a once-in-a-lifetime investment that fundamentally transforms our critical infrastructure,” said Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This bipartisan infrastructure law also included significant funding for the EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up legacy toxic contamination that marks our communities with unsafe, degraded, or underutilized properties and threatens the health of our families and communities. our environment. The grants announced today continue the successful tradition of the brownfields remediation program, while targeting resources to communities, both urban and rural, that have been unable to participate in the program due to a lack of capacity. local technique or a lack of local resources. corresponding resources.

Additional context

A brownfield is a property whose expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways and solar farms.

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held August 16-19, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on the cleanup and reuse of former commercial and industrial properties. EPA is co-sponsoring this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Registration for the conference is open online.

Learn more about Brownfields grants. Learn more About the EPA Brownfields Program.

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Elna M. Lemons