Monday, November 13, 2006

BROWNFIELDS: Feds dole-out $2.3 Million for Enviro-jobs Training, Michigan Loses Out

The government wants to train people to clean up their own neighborhoods.

Twelve communities in 10 states will have to share $2.3 million in job training grants geared toward cleaning up contaminated properties and turning them into productive areas. Federal brownfield grants of up to $200,000 each have been awarded to non-profit organizations and local governments. The grants will teach environmental assessment and cleanup job skills to individuals living in low income areas near brownfields sites in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Whoops, not Michigan! Apparently we got some spare change last year.

Since 1998, the feds have handed out $22 million in brownfields job training funds. Approximately 3,000 people have completed training programs, with more than 1,880 obtaining employment in the environmental field (Average wage? $13.26 /hr). The program is designed to ensure that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities.

The 2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was designed to assist states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. It's estimated that there are currently 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the program, more than 1,000 assessment grants have been awarded totaling approximately $262 million, 200 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $200 million, and 325 cleanup grants totaling approximately $65 million. EPA's brownfields assistance has attracted more than $8.5 billion in private investment and helped attract more than 39,000 jobs.

Did you get that? In the past four years, 325 sites have received funding out of an estimated 450,000; 1000 total sites have been assessed... out of 450,000. That's not even 1%. $2.3million for job training is NOT ENOUGH!

More information on grant recipients is available on the EPA website.

Educate Yourself
Brownfields Redevelopment: Programs & Strategies for Rehabilitating Contaminated Real Estate
by Mark Dennison

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