FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 29, 2012) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded three brownfield grants to Kentucky totaling $1.9 million to fund the assessment and cleanup of properties with environmental problems, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) announced.
Brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized because of real or perceived environmental contamination. They can include old factories, former gas stations, mine-scarred lands and abandoned dry cleaning establishments. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in the country.
“The expansion of the Brownfield Program to provide grants and loans to Kentucky communities exemplifies the mission of the department. We are now able to stimulate economic development, protect the environment and improve the lives of those people living in these communities,” said DEP Commissioner Bruce Scott.
One of the grants goes to the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program, which received an $850,000 Revolving Loan Fund Grant (RLF). As a result of this grant award, the Kentucky DEP will have funding available for the first time to establish a brownfield redevelopment revolving loan fund. The fund will provide low-interest loans and subgrants for cleanup activities on brownfield sites in communities across Kentucky. When loans are repaid, the loan amount will be returned to the fund and loaned to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital for redevelopment within the state. This is the second significant event this year for the brownfield program, the first being the passage of House Bill 465. The bill clarifies legislation passed in 2005 to provide environmental liability protection to bona fide prospective purchasers of brownfields and address liability concerns rel ated to petroleum releases.
“This grant provides additional resources for the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program to use to assist businesses, local governments and nonprofits to clean up blighted properties and put them back into productive reuse,” said Herb Petitjean, brownfield coordinator.
For many communities around the state, this grant will provide hope and much-needed funding to clean up eyesores that invite vandalism, improve property values and create useful sites for their citizens to live, work and play.
Other grants awarded to Kentucky include the following:
• Cumberland Valley Area Development District, $200,000 Assessment Grant — The communitywide hazardous substances grant funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments in the development district’s service area of Jackson, Rockcastle, Laurel, Clay, Knox, Whitley, Bell and Harlan counties. Grant funds also will be used to develop cleanup plans and conduct community outreach activities.
• Northern Kentucky Area Development District, $850,000 Revolving Loan Fund Grant —The Northern Kentucky Area Development District will use this funding to establish a revolving loan fund grant for its service area of Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Owen, Grant and Pendleton counties.
For more information, including specific grant contacts, additional grant information, brownfields news and events, publications and links, visit the EPA Brownfields website at www.epa.gov/brownfields. To contact the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program, call 800-926-8111 or visit dca.ky.gov.