Bolstered by new funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $254 million in new and supplemental brownfield grants to 265 communities across the country.
The agency announced on May 12 that it has selected 227 recipients for fiscal year 2022 Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grants totaling $147.5 million. (A list of grant selections is available here and a searchable list of grant fact sheets can be found here.)
Brownfield projects can involve such work as removing asbestos or lead from buildings or remediating sites where hazardous chemicals were present.
After the cleanups, states and localities can redevelop the sites into commercial properties, housing or other uses.
For example, one project winning an EPA grant is a Greene County, Pa., plan to convert a former coal mine site to a 10-MW solar farm.
Crystal Simmons, a director of the county's Community Development Dept., said in an EPA briefing for reporters, "We're excited to see our plan come to fruition."
More than 180 of the grants will be used for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments and community outreach programs, The rest will go toward cleanup activities.
EPA is awarding an additional $107 million in supplemental funds to 39 existing Revolving Loan Fund participants to sustain programs in which recipients have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work.
Approximately $179.3 million from the infrastructure act, combined with $75 million in fiscal 2022 appropriations, enabled EPA's new round of grants to be nearly quadruple the size of its fiscal 2021 brownfield grant allocation, which included 154 grants, totaling $66.5 million.
The expanded funding includes 15 assessment grants of $2 million each, awarded to state-level environmental agencies. Most of the other newly announced grants range in size from $500,000 to $1 million.
The grants also are examples of the Biden administration’s focus on environmental justice in disadvantaged areas. According to EPA, approximately 86% of the communities selected to receive fiscal 2022 brownfield grants have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.