EPA Awards Funds Locally For Cleanup
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the Great Northern Development Corporation will receive a $2,250,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grant, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for dozens of assessment, cleanup and redevelopment projects.
The grant will focus on projects in Poplar, Wolf Point, Glendive and other eastern Montana communities. GNDC will work closely with a group of partners as the Eastern Montana Brownfields Coalition to identify and fund priority projects.
“The EPA Brownfields program is essential for stabilizing and improving the economic well-being and environmental quality of eastern Montana communities,” said Tori Matejovsky, executive director, Great Northern Development Corporation. “The EMBC plans to leverage the EPA Revolving Loan Fund supplemental award with other public and private resources to help property owners redevelop sites in some of Montana’s most rural and disadvantaged communities. The coalition sincerely thanks the EPA for their continued partnership and support of the EMBC’s goal to spearhead environmental cleanup and rehabilitation efforts in rural eastern Montana communities.”
EPA funding will extend the capacity of GNDC’s Revolving Loan Fund program to complete cleanups in 15 counties in eastern Montana, as well as the entire Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine Indian Reservation and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
GNDC will use the EPA grant as they work with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the Fort Peck Tribes Economic Development Office and the Fort Peck Tribes Office of Environmental Protection to develop a cleanup plan for the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Industrial Complex, creating dozens of high-quality jobs on the reservation.
“GNDC is receiving these funds as a high-performing Revolving Loan Fund program with an established record of success in cleaning up and revitalizing properties across eastern Montana,” said EPA regional administrator KC Becker. “We look forward to seeing these EMBC projects improve the health and safety of communities and bring new business opportunities to the area.”
“As a third-generation farmer, I understand the challenges rural America is facing, including the lasting impacts of toxic waste,” U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said. “Cleaning up and revitalizing Montana’s remaining Brownfield sites breathes new life into our communities by creating some real opportunities for economic development. That’s why I am proud to have secured this funding in my Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for cleanup projects across Big Sky Country to spur economic growth and improve the quality of life for folks from Glendive to Kalispell.”
EPA’s award to GNDC is among six Brownfields grants that were announced last week totaling more than $5.7 million for cleanup and revitalization projects in communities across Montana. These funds are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites while advancing environmental justice through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding is the largest ever awarded by the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs.
GNDC is also working with the city of Glendive and the Dawson County Economic Development Corporation to clean up and explore redevelopment uses for the Jordan Inn in Glendive as mixed-income rental units and retail space on nearly an entire block on the city’s main street.
The former Jaycee Building in Glasgow is another target property, where site cleanup will prepare the property for reuse as multifamily housing. In addition, the VFW building in Wolf Point will be cleaned up and reused as a community youth facility and food bank. GNDC is also dedicating funds to the Pro-Tire property in Wolf Point, which is a candidate for potential reuse as a small business.
Contaminants of concern at these locations include asbestos, lead, petroleum compounds and other hazardous pollutants in building materials, soil and groundwater.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.