EPA Selects Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality for $800,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant

 

05/09/2020

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will receive $800,000 as a Brownfields revolving loan fund grant. The funding is part of $65.6 million given nationwide to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of 948 grants.

“LDEQ’s Brownfields program has a history of success throughout the state, from the Shreveport Convention Center to Main Street USA in Baton Rouge and much more,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “With this revolving loan fund grant, they will be able to help more communities invest in abandoned and damaged properties and return them to productive use.”

“LDEQ is excited to be selected for an EPA Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund award. This funding will allow us to continue to support environmental cleanups that facilitate the reuse of vacant and abandoned properties throughout the state,” said Secretary Chuck Carr-Brown. “The Brownfield program has a great record of successes with projects in urban areas such as the Rose Collaborative in New Orleans. We want to do more, especially in our target areas of Shreveport Common, the historic downtowns of Monroe and West Monroe and small communities such as Arabi. I am very pleased and gratified to be able to continue this impressive work in Louisiana.”

The revolving loan fund grant allows LDEQ to provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities in several locations, including three areas impacted by flooding and the petroleum industry downturn: the Historic Ouachita Riverfront, Shreveport Common, and Arabi Riverfront. Priority sites in these target areas include Louisiana’s first Coca-Cola Bottling facility, a former hospital, an underground storage tank facility, an abandoned warehouse and auto repair shop, and a former Ford Model T manufacturing facility. The Shreveport Common and Arabi Riverfront target areas are located in Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, including neighborhoods located in Opportunity Zones, in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these  communities  can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.

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. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:

Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields 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 brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

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 United States. EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in brownfield grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding, from both public and private sources, leveraged more than 160,000 jobs.

The next 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 former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

List of the FY 2020 applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2020-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup-0



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