By Karen Stokes
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan joined U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Mayor Cavalier Johnson and additional community leaders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour to announce historic resources to clean up pollution at contaminated sites and advance environmental justice across the country.
The EPA chose the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) to receive $5.5 million from the MARC Grant program. This money will be used to clean up polluted areas.
Administrator Regan and Senator Baldwin visited one of the sites that will be cleaned up with this money. The cleanup of this site will be done alongside other EPA investments in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, which has been affected a lot by pollution from the past.
“I am so proud to be one of the members to help pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Senator Baldwin. “This law is making long overdue and needed investments to clean up contaminated sites and address legacy pollution that’s prevented areas of our community from being redeveloped into affordable housing, new businesses and parks. By cleaning up legacy pollution we can attract businesses to invest in and develop on these sites.”
Wisconsin is set to receive nearly $10 million to address contaminated areas. This investment includes $5.5 million for the City of Milwaukee.
“These grants will also help communities like Green Bay, Eau Claire, Sheboygan and Manitowoc and others to assess where this legacy pollution is and how it hurts their communities and help them make a plan to tackle it head on,” Baldwin said.
Randy Crump, President and CEO Prism Technical Management and Marketing Services said, “Today is a day of building opportunities.”
“All across the country, hundreds of thousands of potentially dangerous sites sit idly jeopardizing the health and economic security of local communities.” Regan said. “Many of which are economically distressed. Cleaning up and investing in this community has the power to turn these once blighted sites into economic engines supplying opportunities for job growth and reducing the harmful impact to people’s health and the environment.”
“That’s why today I’m excited to announce a historic investment of over $315 million to support the development of Brownfields Programs all across the United States of America,” he said. EPA’s Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, environmental job training, technical assistance, training, and research.
These investments, totaling $315 million, are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, which aims to strengthen the American economy from the ground up and the middle out. It includes initiatives to rebuild national infrastructure, drive over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments, foster a manufacturing and innovation boom that generates well-paying jobs not requiring a four-year degree, and establish a clean-energy economy to combat climate change and enhance community resilience.
“This is the largest amount of funding ever awarded in the nearly 30 year history of Brownfield programs in the EPA,” noted Regan. “Today’s announcement will be life changing for so many people all across the country and is environmental justice in action.”
Moreover, EPA’s Brownfields Program aligns with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits from specific federal investments reach disadvantaged communities.