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EPA and DOL Support For Auto Community Redevelopment

2012 August 8

Cross- posted from the Department of Labor Auto Recovery Blog

By Mathy Stanislaus

As I meet with mayors and talk with community leaders throughout the country, I witness first-hand the significant challenges communities face as they work to rebuild their economies. Taking action to support economic development and community revitalization while protecting public health and the environment is a long-standing commitment at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our assistance and funding to support redevelopment and economic recovery is helping communities, on the ground, to revitalize their neighborhoods.

EPA’s Brownfields program provides funding and technical assistance to help communities in assessing, cleaning up, and redeveloping former manufacturing facilities. Brownfields may be contaminated properties, but, once cleaned up; they can be transformed into important community assets. Often, these properties are in key locations with existing infrastructure. With the Brownfields program, we are making investments to help leverage redevelopment at these sites. I believe that removing blight and redeveloping the industrial properties that often sit at the heart of a community’s downtown can renew both the spirit and the economy of our cities.

Since the program’s inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $18.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, this relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged more than 75,000 jobs. This year, our grants were targeted to communities that experienced auto and other major plant closures, and in the last three years alone, EPA’s Brownfields Program provided more than $15 million in financial support to auto communities.

The Brownfields Program is about rebuilding communities. Today, EPA is partnering with the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers and other Federal agencies to identify opportunities to target federal government grant resources specifically to the needs of auto communities.

Under my leadership, EPA is working closely with the Department of Labor (DOL) to help bring necessary coordination and resources to these communities. We are working with our state partners and local officials to identify opportunities for flexibility within EPA’s regulatory programs to encourage the revitalization of these former auto plants. We are also working closely with The Manufacturing Alliance for Communities on a series of auto community roundtables that are structured to allow for local officials to identify their resource needs, as well as their visions for the revitalization these sites in their communities. These auto community roundtables bring together economic development leaders, elected officials and investors from the public and private sectors that are committed to redeveloping former auto properties.

Moving forward, DOL and EPA will continue to coordinate with The Manufacturing Alliance for Communities and the Mayors Manufacturing Coalition, the RACER Trust, and charitable and philanthropic organizations such as the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, to assess needs and to deliver resources, and to develop a comprehensive toolbox of technical assistance available including the timelines and processes for applying for these competitive resources. By developing this comprehensive tool box we are working to identify potential ways for private foundation money to provide coordinated technical assistance that will leverage available federal and state resources. We also ask that communities continue to identify priority properties and work in partnership with EPA and other federal, state, local, public, private and philanthropic partners to identify their resource needs and garner their community assets.

At EPA, many of our programs and efforts focus on ways to improve the quality of life in local communities. We realize that to move projects forward it takes a variety of resources. In 2012 EPA is looking forward to continuing to make investments in communities through all aspects of our Brownfields program so that this Administration’s efforts on behalf of American communities will continue to support redevelopment and economic recovery, and help rebuild and revitalize neighborhoods and communities across the country.

About the author: Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. August 9, 2012

    Informative article. In the sense of public health awareness is the most useful and effective vitalization. Economy is the matter for high populated area. The coverage of public health issue is on the basis of economy filled the purpose. Ventilate the power of public through neighbor to neighbor.

  2. August 10, 2012

    American communities will continue to support redevelopment and economic recovery

  3. August 11, 2012

    If one community people contribute to develop their ares it is not so difficult to the authority to develop the opportunities . thanks for sharing you ideas with us .

  4. permalink
    October 11, 2012

    I think – taking action to support economic development and community revitalization while protecting public health and the environment is helping communities, on the ground, to revitalize their neighborhoods.

  5. Justin Thompson, Site Location Partnership permalink
    November 6, 2012

    I work in corporate site selection and advise companies on where to site their expansion or relocation operations, many of which projects involve industrial sites. In doing so, I deal with corporations and communities on a daily basis in regards to job creation through economic development. From the perspective of both the private and public sector, I cannot begin to express how valuable the EPA’s Brownfields program has become.

    Many economic development agencies throughout the country, particularly those in more rural areas, lack the resources for redevelopment efforts. The Brownfields program not only supports these communities with their redevelopment efforts, but also plays a larger role in their overall objective of recruiting new employers for economic development.

    The EPA’s Brownfields program has truly become a difference-maker in the fields of redevelopment, economic development and job creation. The EPA and other contributing organizations should be commended for their foresight and efforts in developing a program of this magnitude.

    Justin Thompson, CEO
    Site Location Partnership

  6. Larry Autos permalink
    February 6, 2013

    Will the brownfields program be as aggressive in 2013 as in 2012. Just wondering??

  7. Asn Broker permalink
    April 9, 2013

    Economy is the matter for high populated area. The coverage of public health issue is on the basis of economy filled the purpose.

    Thank for ypur posted
    Asn Broker

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