EPA Will Award $2 Million In Brownfields Job Training Funds To Clean Up Our Communities

On the anniversary of Obama’s first year in office, one of the major criticisms heard from the environmental community was that the administration was taking a less than productive approach to cleaning up Superfund sites, some of the most polluted and dangerous areas of the country.

Many were shocked when Obama’s EPA announced that that over its first three years it would clean up fewer Superfund sites than any administration since 1991, including that of George W. Bush (Mongabay.com).

Nevertheless, the agency seems to be working hard to reverse the lackluster reputation it has garnered for itself, cracking down on mountaintop removal mining, toxic chemicals in consumer products, and most recently, the Superfund site’s oft-ignored younger sibling, the brownfield.

Last week in New Orleans, La., EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced that EPA is awarding more than $2 million in job training grants for environmental cleanups in communities across the country. 

The agency’s Brownfields Job Training Program helps train people for jobs in the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, closed smelters, and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties.  These investments target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

Brownfield sites are industrial and commercial facilities that are afflicted with low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution. Although they could be restored and reused, many of these sites are simply abandoned because of the cost of remediation.

“By recruiting, training and employing local residents to clean up the community, we get the best of both worlds: new jobs and a cleaner community,” said EPA Administrator Jackson. “Transforming abandoned and contaminated sites sets the stage for bustling business centers, new parks and other developments. It shows that the right thing to do for the environment is the right thing to do for the economy.”

Twelve governmental entities and non-profit organizations in 10 states are receiving up to $200,000 each to train people in the cleanup of these abandoned and possibly polluted properties, while also providing training in other environmental skills, such as green building design, energy efficiency, weatherization, solar installation, green construction, and native plant revegetation.

The brownfields job training grants will focus on recruiting residents living near brownfields sites in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington.

Find out how to apply for brownfields job training grants, and learn more about the EPA’s Brownfields Program.

Image Credit: Flickr - Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection

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Nyack Clancy
Nyack Clancy5 years ago

Way to go.. money wisely spent, for a change. In an ideal world we shouldn't have to pay to clean up anybody else's mess.

dorothea aguiar
dodi aguiar5 years ago

OH MY GOD !!! something sensible , logical , responsible !! wow this is so good to hear . i just hope it keeps up !!

Kathy Layman
Kathy Layman5 years ago

I've lived in this mountain top coal stripping region most of my life and have seen the devastation of our landscape and the clear cutting a forests for this activity. I've seen the run off in local streams and tributaries. It's not a pretty site. We have an abundance of coal in Pennsylvania and the coal trucks ruin our roadways. The drivers of these dump trucks feel they don't have to live within the basic rules of drivers education. They are speedsters, they run stop signs to make better hauling time and they dirty every area they come in contact with. So I vote NO to local mountaintop strip mining.

gail d.
gail dair5 years ago

good news thanks

Yulan L.
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

Great initiative in the right direction. I hope this spreads. I don't have this problem, thank God, on the Sunshine Coast.

Julie G.
Julie G.5 years ago

This is the right direction to take...let's hope there are more projects like this one in the planning. Thanks for the good news article.

Doris Mason
Past Member 5 years ago

Let's put the Homeless to work, with a set up of work camps.
FDR did it...and guess what???? IT WORKED

Erin R.
Erin R.5 years ago

Good news!

Miguel D.
Past Member 5 years ago

great news....

Annie B.
Annie B.5 years ago

Some of these sites have exhausted all the cash and assets that the polluters had. There are no more lawsuits to file and no more people to go after. Brownfields turning to local clean-up job training is a great idea. The hazmat training for this is minimal. Great job Mr. President. From a former hazmat manager.