Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho to celebrate success of Maine’s Brownfields Program

June 7, 2013

CONTACT:
Jessamine Logan, Director of Communications, (207) 287-5842 jessamine.logan@maine.gov

-EPA awards $3.8 million to the State of Maine to assess, clean up and create revolving funds in the state. Maine was the third highest recipient nationwide of grant funds for 2013.

Eastport– Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho will celebrate a Brownfields Assessment grant success in Eastport on Friday, June 7 at Noon in Eastport, Maine. Earlier this week, Aho attended a check presentation ceremony with EPA Regional Director, Curt Spalding, for the 2013 Brownfields Awards to Maine.

EPA awarded Maine $3.8 million in Brownfields funding for FY2013. This year, Maine is the third highest recipient of Brownfields funding nationwide and the highest in New England. Since 2002, Maine has received close to $50 million dollars in funding for the Brownfields program and created 750 jobs and assessed or cleaned up 1500 acres across the state. “Maine’s economy is tied to its natural resources,” Governor Paul LePage said, “I am pleased that the redevelopment of abandoned and unsafe property across the state puts brownfields sites back on the property tax rolls and cleans up the environment.”

One advantage of assessing potential sites is that some of them may not have significant contamination and will be attractive for businesses to expand, invest, or redevelop the property. In 2009, the Washington County Council of Governments received a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment grant from the EPA. After two assessments were completed, David Pottle acquired the property from the City and completed remediation himself. September 2012, he opened the Lighthouse Lobster and Bait facility, an innovative lobster pound that will extend the market season for Maine lobsters. Friday marks the celebration of the Washington County COG Brownfields program.

DEP is proud that for over a decade, Maine has had one of the most successful Brownfields programs in the country. DEP understands that the successes of this program are from working together with EPA and the applicants. Aho said, “Maine has consistently received higher amounts than many other states because we have an excellent staff that work tirelessly with potential recipients and help with applications, forms, and overall information.” Assessing and cleaning up the Brownfields sites remains a top priority for Aho and DEP. “My vision for the Department recognizes that a healthy environment translates to a healthy economy,” Aho said.

A “brownfield” is defined by the EPA as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutant or contaminants.” The purpose of the Brownfields Program is to encourage re-development at these properties. This is accomplished by working with municipalities and potential owners to assist them with conducting investigations and remediation where necessary to allow for productive re-use of brownfields sites.

In Maine this year, EPA is providing Brownfields grants to the following municipalities and groups:

  • City of Belfast, $200,000 (community-wide assessment grant)
  • City of Biddeford, $200,000 (cleanup grant)
  • Brewer Redevelopment, LLC, $200,000 (2 cleanup grants)
  • Eastern Maine Development Corp., $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)
  • City of Gardiner, $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)
  • Greater Portland Council of Governments, $800,000 (community-wide Revolving Loan Fund grant)
  • Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)
  • Midcoast Economic Dev. District, $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)
  • Passamaquoddy Tribe, $200,000 (community-wide assessment grant)
  • Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission, $400,000 (2 community-wide assessment grants)

Potential Brownfields applicants are encouraged to contact Nick Hodgkins of DEP’s Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, Brownfields Program, by phone at (207) 287-2651 or by e-mail at Nick.Hodgkins@maine.gov. More information can be found here about the Brownfields Program: http://www.maine.gov/dep/spills/brownfields/