PHILADELPHIA (April 22, 2021) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing the selection of West Virginia University Research Corporation as one of six organizations to receive a total of $11 million in grants nationwide to provide training and technical assistance to communities.
The work is being funded by EPA’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program. West Virginia University Corporation will receive $1 million total over a five-year period to provide technical assistance primarily to underserved and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Mid-Atlantic Region (EPA Region 3) where environmental cleanup and new jobs are needed most. This assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities. It is an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in disadvantaged communities.
“A primary goal of our Brownfields technical assistance program is to help communities transform environmental liabilities into community assets,” said Barry N. Breen, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “Today’s selected grant recipients will serve as independent resources for communities facing the challenges of assessing, cleaning up and preparing brownfield sites for redevelopment.”
“I’m thrilled to see the EPA select West Virginia University to receive technical assistance to brownfield communities funding. This funding is critical for rural areas across West Virginia because it will support projects that are vital to rebuilding our communities and growing our state’s economy,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I thank the EPA for its strong support for these much-needed programs and I look forward to continuing to work closely together to ensure communities across West Virginia are given opportunities to rebuild and thrive.”
“I’m proud of West Virginia University for earning this grant to serve as a resource and help communities across West Virginia,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. “This assistance will educate and empower West Virginians to take advantage of the real revitalization and transformation that is possible from cleaning up Brownfields sites for future development. It’s important that our citizens have access to the environmental, economic and human health benefits that come from cleaning up contaminated sites. I look forward to seeing the impact this grant and the resulting technical assistance will have on our state.”
“The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center was created specifically to develop stronger links between USEPA Region 3 and the State’s communities,” said Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director of the WVU Water Research Institute and one of the founders of the WV Brownfields Assistance Center (BAC). “The objective was to help communities develop successful redevelopment projects and recover economic opportunity, jobs and local revenue that had been lost when the previous industries moved out. This TAB grant will train local leaders in realizing the full economic and social benefits from brownfield redevelopment.”
“We’re excited to take the success we’ve seen in West Virginia and the lessons we’ve learned in our communities and leverage that to help communities across Region 3,” said BAC Interim Director Carrie Staton. “We look forward to not only impacting individual projects and programs across the region but also to building stronger ties across state lines, helping communities learn from one another as well as experts in the field.”
Read the full press release here.