HONOLULU – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to receive a total of $400,000 in Brownfields Assessment Grants to be used for site assessments at Kakaako on Oahu.
“These grants will go a long way to bring areas in Honolulu back into productive reuse while involving community members in the process,” said Jared Blumenfeld EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is pleased to be able to fund these local projects that will help address contamination, revitalize neighborhoods and spur economic activity.”
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will be receiving two brownfields assessment grants, $200,000 for hazardous substances and $200,000 for petroleum contamination. The hazardous substances and petroleum grant funds will be used to conduct Phase II environmental site assessments on six parcels in Kakaako Makai. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities.
Nationally, 240 recipients have been recommended to receive $62.5 million in grants to protect people’s health and the environment in local communities. These new investments, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants, provide communities with funding necessary to assess, cleanup and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.
These Brownfields grants target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. Approximately $29.5 million are going to communities that have been impacted by plant closures. Other selected recipients include tribes and communities in 45 states across the country, and nearly half of the grantees this year are new recipients.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States. More than 20,000 properties have been assessed, and more than 850 properties have been cleaned up through EPA’s Brownfields program. EPA’s Brownfields investments have also leveraged more than $19 billion in overall cleanup and redevelopment funding from public and private sources. On average $17.79 is leveraged for every EPA Brownfields grant dollar spent. These investments resulted in approximately 87,000 jobs nationwide. When Brownfields are addressed, nearby property values can increase 2-3 percent.
A 2011 pilot study indicated Brownfields site redevelopment increases location efficiency, which means that residents live closer to where they work and play reducing their commute times and greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s preliminary research has also shown that redeveloping Brownfield sites results in an efficient reuse of existing infrastructure and decreasing instances of stormwater runoff. These projects can have a positive impact on community revitalization by leveraging jobs, producing clean energy, and providing recreation opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods.