Several sources of funding are available from the USEPA and from individual states to assist in the early phases of Brownfield site redevelopment.
EPA Brownsfields Assessment Grant
EPA Brownfield Assessment Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement related to brownfield sites. An eligible entity may apply for up to $200,000 to assess a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum) and up to $200,000 to address a site contaminated by petroleum. Applicants may seek a waiver of the $200,000 limit and request up to $350,000 for a site contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants and up to $350,000 to assess a site contaminated by petroleum. Such waivers must be based on the anticipated level of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum) at a single site. Total grant fund requests should not exceed a total of $400,000 unless such a waiver is requested. Due to budget limitations, no entity may apply for more than $700,000 in assessment funding. The performance period for these grants is two years. Applications for EPA Brownfield Assessment Grants are generally posted in the summer on the EPA website with proposals due in the Fall. Additional information including grant guidelines may be found on the EPA website.
Brownfield Inventory Eligibility
The first step many communities take in their brownfield site redevelopment process is to examine their landscape and inventory the number, location, and readily known history of underutilized properties within their borders. At a minimum, these inventories are a list of properties with their locations identified on a map. Properties included in the inventory can then be prioritized based on a variety of characteristics to determine which properties are most important to the redevelopment vision of the community. The cost of preparing these inventories is eligible under USEPA Brownfields Assessment Grant funding. Note that the preparation of inventories is usually a small portion of any grant award, as most communities and USEPA emphasize the use of the grant funds for the actual assessment of the properties that are of priority interest to the community.
Assessment Grants can also be applied for through the formation of an assessment coalition which is comprised of three or more eligible entities. A lead coalition member is selected and submits a Communitywide Assessment grant proposal on behalf of itself and the other coalition members. The requested amount can be up to $1 million to perform work on a minimum of five hazardous substance and/or petroleum sites, however, no more than $200,000 can be spent on any one site. Eligible entities, including those with existing brownfields assessment grants, are: state, local, and tribal governments, with the exception of certain Indian Tribes in Alaska; general purpose units of local government, land clearance authorities, or other quasi-governmental entities; regional councils; redevelopment agencies; and government entities created by state legislatures. Nonprofit organizations are ineligible and coalition members are not eligible to apply for individual Community-wide or Site-specific Assessment grants in the year they apply as part of a coalition. The advantages of applying as a coalition is that it increases access to assessment resources for communities that might have limited resources to administer a brownfield grant, helps a state or county to focus assessment dollars on geographical areas with the greatest need over a given time, and the larger pool of funding allows the coalition to shift geographic focus to new areas as revitalization needs are identified. Additional information including grant guidelines may be found on the EPA website.
Targeted Brownfields Assessment
EPA also has the Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) program which is designed to help states, tribes, and municipalities, especially those without EPA Brownfields Assessment Pilots/Grants, minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with brownfields. Targeted Brownfields Assessments supplement and work with other efforts under EPA's Brownfields Program to promote the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields. For additional information regarding EPA’s TBA assistance including the two sources which it is available through, please go to the EPA website.
State Grants and Loans
All the states within EPA Regions 1, 2 and 3 provide assistance programs to support Brownfield development. Normally, the lead agency for Brownfield programs within the state is the state’s environmental regulatory agency. At a minimum the state environmental agency or department will provide technical assistance for the design of environmental investigations. For example, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) provides, free of charge, technical assistance with regard to performing Preliminary Assessments (PAs) and may conduct soil, surface water, sediment and groundwater sampling. Additionally, some states such as New Jersey participate in loan and grant programs that provide funding for assessment and clean up activities. Usually the state environmental regulatory agency assures the technical and regulatory adequacy of an application. See the Key Contacts in State Brownfield Programs in Geographic Zone 1 section of this web site for information on how to contact the appropriate person or group within the state. In addition to programs provided by the state environmental regulatory agency, many states also provide Brownfield funding through programs administered by the economic development agency or office. For example, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation provides loans through a revolving loan fund (RLF) for assessments and clean-up of Brownfield sites. Eligible entities include private, public and not-for-profit organizations and loans are provided at below market rates. In Vermont, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development administers a similar program and in Massachusetts, MassDevelopment provides low interest loans and grants for site assessment and clean-up in Economically Distressed Areas.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJDEA) provides loans up to $750,000 to developers or business owners who enter into the Brownfields Redevelopment Loan Fund (BRLF). Another source of Brownfield financial incentive provided by the states is tax relief through tax credits. Many times this comes in the form of a tax credit of a certain amount based on the clean up costs if the remediation achieves a clean up goal or uses innovative technology. Other types of credit programs are state specific. For example, Rhode Island has a Mill Building Tax Credit program for rehabilitating old mill buildings on Brownfield sites. Other types of incentive programs include tax increment financing (TIF), urban and industrial sites reinvestment tax credit, urban redevelopment districts and brownfield development area designation.