Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho welcomes additional Brownfields Funding for Maine

July 19, 2013

CONTACT:
Jessamine Logan (207) 287-5842 jessaminelogan@maine.gov

-The Department of Economic and Community Development is the third highest single entity nationwide and the highest in New England to receive funding

Augusta– Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho welcomes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of two awards in Maine of Supplemental Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (BRLF). DEP closely worked with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Southern Maine Planning Commission and was instrumental in the organizations receiving the funds.

DECD received $600,000 in funding, which is tied for the third highest single entity award in the entire country and the highest award in New England. SMPC received $200,000 for its BRLF; on top of the $400,000 it received for two community wide assessment grants last month. “Maine’s economy is tied to its natural resources,” Governor Paul R. LePage said, “I am pleased that Maine is nationally recognized for having highly productive Brownfields Revolving Loan Funds. Mainers can be assured that cleaning-up hazardous properties and putting them into productive use remains a priority of my Administration.”

DEP is proud that for over a decade, Maine has had one of the most successful Brownfields programs in the country. Earlier this year, EPA awarded Maine $3.8 million in Brownfields funding for FY2013. This year, Maine is the third highest recipient of Brownfields RLF 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. 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.”

Maine has six BRLFs across the state: DECD, SMPC, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, Northern Maine Development Commission, Greater Portland Council of Governments, and the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments. “By leveraging federal funding and creating sustainable revolving loan funds more unsafe properties in Maine will be cleaned-up thus underscoring DEP’s vision that a healthy environment translates to a healthy economy,” Aho said.

“This is a great example of two state agencies collaborating on finding a solution to environmental problems that have become barriers to redevelopment of sites that have potential for future contribution to economic growth,” said Deborah Johnson, DECD’s Director of the Office of Community Development.

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.

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/index.html

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