At Green Building Elements, we explore many things that pertain to sustainability, including communities, products, and designs that will nurture a better future for all living on this planet. We report on renewable energy, water, and food issues that impact many.
Here is one resource from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that may be of use to communities and businesses seeking to develop or redevelop sustainable programs:
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has grown into a proven, results-oriented program that has changed the way contaminated property is perceived, addressed, and managed. EPA’s Brownfields Program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment. Initially, EPA provided small amounts of seed money to local governments that launched hundreds of two-year brownfield “pilot” projects. Through passage of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, effective polices that EPA had developed over the years were passed into law. The Brownfields Law expanded EPA’s assistance by providing new tools for the public and private sectors to promote sustainable brownfields cleanup and reuse.
Brownfields grants continue to serve as the foundation of EPA’s Brownfields Program. These grants support revitalization efforts by funding environmental assessment, cleanup, and job training activities. Brownfields Assessment Grants provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach. Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants provide funding to capitalize loans that are used to clean up brownfields. Brownfields Job Training Grants provide environmental training for residents of brownfields communities. Brownfields Cleanup Grants provide direct funding for cleanup activities at certain properties with planned greenspace, recreational, or other nonprofit uses.
EPA’s investment in the Brownfields Program has resulted in many accomplishments, including leveraging more than $14.0 billion in brownfields cleanup and redevelopment funding from the private and public sectors and leveraging approximately 60,917 jobs. The momentum generated by the Program is leaving an enduring legacy. The Brownfields Program and its partners have provided guidance and incentives to support economic revitalization, and empowered communities to address the brownfields in their midst. EPA’s Brownfield Program continues to look to the future by expanding the types of properties it addresses, forming new partnerships, and undertaking new initiatives to help revitalize communities across the nation.