Five Puerto Rico municipalities get a brownfields boost
Five municipalities in Puerto Rico will get a boost in their efforts to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, thanks to a total of US$2 million in grants announced today by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The funding will be used by the local governments to identify and assess sites that can be cleaned up and redeveloped. Properties such as these where reuse, redevelopment or expansion is hindered by pollution or potential pollution are known as brownfields. EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg presented the grants today to representatives of the five municipalities at a ceremony at the Agency’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division office in San Juan.
“Brownfields grants are given to equip communities with funding to tackle eyesores and polluted properties and to turn them into valuable resources,” said Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator. “These assessment grants will enable each municipality to assess abandoned sites and to take the first important step toward putting useless sites into useful service.”
The following municipalities each received $400,000 in the form of one $200,000 grant to assess sites with hazardous substances and one $200,000 grant to assess sites with petroleum:
- The Municipality of Caguas
- The Municipality of Canovanas
- The Municipality of Salinas
- The Municipality of Toa Baja
- The Municipality of Yauco
The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites. Nationally, 194 assessment grants totaling $38.7 million were issued this year and will be used to conduct site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfields sites or as part of a community-wide effort. EPA also provides grants for cleanup of hazardous substances, revolving loan funds and job training. In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields grants have helped convert industrial properties to parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails and gas stations to housing. As of January 31, 2008, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $10.4 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding and 47,201 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.