EPA Awarding $76 Million for Cleanups in 40 States

June 6, 2011 - 11:44 AM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Federal grants will help clean up and redevelop 214 polluted sites such as abandoned gas stations and shuttered factories in 40 states, Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson said Monday.

Three tribal nations also will receive federal money under the EPA's "brownfield" program, which is designed to spur growth in cities where contaminated industrial and commercial sites have been a drag on the economy while contributing to joblessness and crime, agency officials said.

The grants will help "make our communities cleaner, healthier and more prosperous places to raise a family and start a business," Jackson said during a news conference near the site of a former power plant in Lansing that a previous grant helped restore. An insurance company building now occupies the property.

There are about 450,000 abandoned and polluted waste sites nationwide that have been tainted by oil or chemicals, or scarred by industries such as mining, the EPA says. A revision of the law in 2002 expanded the definition of brownfields to include places such as "meth labs" where illegal drugs are made and distributed.

About $2.9 million will be divided among seven communities in Michigan under this year's grants.

Among other recipients:

— Milwaukee will get a grant to transform a formerly contaminated property into a business park.

—Springfield, Mo., will get funds to turn a former rail yard into a natural wetland open space with greenway trails.

—A waterfront property in Nassau County, N.Y., will be prepared for a hotel complex, affordable housing, restaurant and retail space and a commuter ferry.

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Flesher reported from Traverse City, Mich.