(The Center Square) – Four New Jersey communities will be receiving $6.5 million in Brownfields Grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the cleanup and revitalization of environmentally damaged areas.
The funding is part of $254.5 million the EPA is bestowing on 265 communities throughout the country pursuant to President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The measure passed in November and dedicates $1.5 billion to the recovery of such properties across the country in hopes of repurposing them and creating new jobs in the process.
“We’re turning blight into might for communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors.”
Brownfield properties can range from buildings with asbestos or lead contamination to the sites of former chemical plants. Once decontaminated, they can be developed just like any other plot of land into useful real estate for the community, like housing communities, parks or solar farms.
Brownfields grants will be disbursed in mainly three forms: assessment, clean-up and revolving loan funds. Each is as their names suggest, the latter enabling recipients to “offer loans and subgrants to carry out clean-up activities at brownfield sites,” according to a recent release.
For now in the Garden State, Camden Redevelopment Agency is receiving more than half of New Jersey’s brownfield grant money in the form of a Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Grant of $3.5 million. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is getting an assessment grant of $2 million for projects across the state. Asbury Park and Hamilton Township will receive $500,000 each for clean-up grants.
As of one year ago, New Jersey had the most brownfield and superfund sites of any state, according to NJ.com. Superfund sites are like brownfield properties, except potentially more dangerous and requiring longer-term clean-up.
Five states won’t be receiving any brownfields grants this time around. Of the 45 that are, more than 10 are receiving more funding than New Jersey. Maine tops the list by a longshot at $24.1 million; next is Montana at $14.1 million and New York at $10.9 million.