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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $2.2 Million in Brownfield Grants Through Investing in America Agenda to Rehabilitate and Revitalize Communities in Texas

6 hours 30 minutes ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 23, 2024)  –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $2.2 million in grants from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Texas while advancing environmental justice. These investments, through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Programs, will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

EPA selected the cities of Balcones Heights, Fort Worth, Hamilton and Freeport to receive $1.95 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant programs. EPA is also announcing $250,000 in supplemental funding to existing, high-performing Brownfields RLF Grant Programs to expedite their continued work at sites in Dallas.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites,” said President Joe Biden. “I've long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment. Under my Administration, we are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most. I am proud that my Administration is helping Philadelphia clean up and transform this area into an economic engine, while tackling a longstanding environmental injustice and creating good-paying jobs.”

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.” 

“Across Texas, cities of all sizes use Brownfields funding to clean up abandoned, contaminated sites that can act as roadblocks to healthy, revitalized neighborhoods,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “With more funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, even more cities, small towns, and rural areas can invest in a clean environment for all residents.”

 “I’m proud to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I helped pass in 2021 continue to deliver real results for South Texans,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20). “This funding will allow Balcones Heights to plan and prepare cleanup of polluted, abandoned properties and pave the way for safer and healthier neighborhoods. Thank you to the EPA for prioritizing South Texas in its efforts to both grow local economies and advance environmental justice in American communities.”

"In 2021, I proudly voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that made grants like this one possible,” said Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33). “These investments will go to fight against pollution, clean our air and water and help create brighter outcomes for communities across North Texas.”

“Thanks to this latest investment from the Biden-Harris administration for the City of Dallas, we will be able to convert long-contaminated parts of our community into sites of opportunity for the next generation” said Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-30). “By investing the Brownfield Revolving Fund into the heart of Texas, we can now clean up a toxic environment left behind from a legacy of systemic discrimination while simultaneously promoting economic growth through new use of what is the greatest commodities we have today—land. Now more than ever, Dallas needs to build new affordable housing options—but because those with money and power have dumped decades of pollution into our community, we stuck with locations that prevent us from building affordable housing because we know its unsafe to raise children in these polluted environments. With today’s announced investment that builds on a longstanding commitment to environmental justice, the Biden-Harris administration acknowledges the potential our community to thrive when freed from the restraints of poisonous pollution.”

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

State Funding Breakdown:

Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Program Selection

The following organizations in Texas have been selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs.

The city of Balcones Heights has been selected for a $450,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct 14 Phase I and seven Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to identify and prioritize additional sites, prepare two cleanup plans, conduct two visioning sessions, prepare two site reuse assessments and one redevelopment plan, and support community engagement activities. Priority sites include a 2.22-acre site on Fredericksburg Road containing dilapidated commercial buildings that have housed a dry cleaner facility, storage warehouses, and auto repair facilities, and a 0.6-acre former automotive repair store site located on Crossroads Boulevard.

The city of Fort Worth will receive a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct 30 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to identify and prioritize additional sites, develop four cleanup plans, conduct two visioning sessions, and support community engagement activities. Priority sites include Butler Place, which is an abandoned 42-acre, 400-unit low-income housing residential property, and the former R. Vickery School.

The city of Freeport will receive a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to inventory sites and conduct 16 Phase I and nine Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop four cleanup plans and two site reuse assessments, and support community engagement activities. Priority sites include a 5.7-acre vacant property that previously housed a medical equipment manufacturing company and has been abandoned since the early 2000s and an 11-acre former railroad yard with abandoned railroad tracks, a building slab, and abandoned trailers. Both sites are within walking distance of the city’s historic downtown.

The city of Hamilton will receive a $500,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant to clean up the Grogan Street Nursing Home located at 400 West Grogan Street. The cleanup site operated as a nursing home from 1960 until 1997 and has sat vacant since then. It is contaminated with inorganic contaminants.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Non-competitive Supplemental Funding Through the Existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Program

EPA is announcing $250,000 in non-competitive supplemental funding to successful existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant programs that have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. RLF Grants provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. The funding announced today will help communities continue to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfield sites.

In addition to the $1,000,000 in EPA funds already awarded, the city of Dallas Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has been selected to receive an additional $250,000 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) because it has a high-performing RLF program with significantly depleted funds. Potential projects highlighted for use of the BIL funding include multiple former dry cleaners and multiple properties slated for affordable housing located on Dallas’ Southside. The BIL funding will extend the capacity of the program to provide funding for more cleanups in the most underserved areas in Dallas.

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Additional Background:

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites to address the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To learn more about RLF Technical Assistance grant recipient visit EPA’s Brownfields Grow America webpage.

 

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.     

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

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Region 06

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $5.5 Million in Brownfield Grants to Houston Land Bank Through Investing in America Agenda

6 hours 30 minutes ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 23, 2024)  –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $5.5 million in grants from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Houston while advancing environmental justice. These investments, through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Programs, will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

The Houston Land Bank will receive two grants: an assessment grant for $500,000 and a cleanup grant for $5 million. The assessment grant will be used to inventory sites and conduct three to seven Phase I and nine Phase II environmental site assessments, and to develop two cleanup plans and one reuse plan, and support community engagement activities. The cleanup grant will be used at the former City of Houston Velasco Incinerator Property on N. Velasco Street, which is contaminated with heavy metals, PCBs, volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, and dioxins. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community engagement activities.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites,” said President Joe Biden. “I've long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment. Under my Administration, we are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most. I am proud that my Administration is helping Philadelphia clean up and transform this area into an economic engine, while tackling a longstanding environmental injustice and creating good-paying jobs.”

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.” 

“With experience and expertise, partners like the Houston Land Bank are vital to putting EPA’s Brownfields funding to work quickly and effectively,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “With more funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Land Bank will be able to tackle big projects and make Houston cleaner and healthier for everyone.”

“This grant we are announcing resulted from the work of many of us as members of Congress on environmental justice issues. Specifically, the Brownfields Grant Program was funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is helping communities create safer, cleaner, greener, and more accessible transportation systems. As a member of the House Committee on Budget I have long advocated to bring federal dollars back to the 18th Congressional District and improve the lives of my constituents,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18). “I have worked with the Biden Administration on implementing President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to communities marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.  The first Houston Landbank Brownfields Grant, totaling $5,000,000, will be used at the Former Velasco Incinerator Property located in the 18th Congressional District at Zero North Velasco Street in Houston, Texas. This site was an incinerator facility where municipal waste from across the city was burned and is now contaminated with heavy metals and dangerous chemicals. The second Houston Landbank Brownfields Grant, totaling $500,000, will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and develop clean up plans in Houston’s Northeast and East End neighborhoods, which includes Settegast, Kashmere Gardens, and Trinity Gardens. Through my representational work, I led efforts to directly engage the EPA on frontline environmental challenges facing residents of my district. I called a community meeting that brought all sides to a discussion on the creosote contaminations of Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens, which led to my work for a cancer study of the impacted area. That study resulted in three reports each revealing a new cancer cluster involving residents of the Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens area. I invited EPA Administrator Regan to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in the 18th Congressional District to visit the site of a proposed concrete crusher plant that would harm patients and nearby residents. I have brought attention to these issues and I am committed to improve the health and wellbeing of my constituents. In 2023, the EPA launched a historic survey of the impacted areas of the 18th Congressional District to inform the public and the agency on past risk factors for health and safety. Today, this work continues, and it is important that the community participate in this soil sample survey in order for the EPA to collect accurate and complete data. I applaud President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for joining me in bringing this grant opportunity to the 18th Congressional District and working to improve the environment in areas with the highest need. I will continue to work with the Biden-Harris Administration to address these concerns and engage our community.” 

"The Velasco Incinerator Cleanup Project represents a significant step forward in the Houston Land Bank's efforts to transform underutilized and contaminated properties into valuable community assets. We are grateful to the EPA for this funding and the strong support of this project by the local community, the City of Houston, our dedicated team and Board of Directors, and elected officials,” said Christa Stoneham, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Houston Land Bank. “With this collective support, HLB can ensure that we not only meet cleanup objectives and regulatory compliance but also align project outcomes with the community's needs and expectations. We are committed to continuous engagement and transparency throughout this project, ensuring that our efforts lead to long-term benefits for the community.”

“The Housing and Community Development Department extends its heartfelt appreciation to the Biden administration for their invaluable assistance in the cleanup of the Velasco Incinerator site,” said Director Michael C. Nichols. “Our environment has a direct influence on our health outcomes. This long-standing hazard in the East End community has finally received the attention it deserves. Thanks to the additional support provided, residents can now rest assured that their safety and well-being are top priorities. HCD is pleased to partner with the Houston Land Bank as it formulates its revitalization strategy for this community."

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Additional Background:

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites to address the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To learn more about RLF Technical Assistance grant recipient visit EPA’s Brownfields Grow America webpage.

 

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.     

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

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Region 06

United States Reaches Over $310 Million Settlement with Norfolk Southern to Address Harms Caused by East Palestine Train Derailment

6 hours 30 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement valued at over $310 million with Norfolk Southern Railway Company holding the company accountable for addressing and paying for the damage caused by the Feb. 3, 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. If the settlement is approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Norfolk Southern will be required to take measures to improve rail safety, pay for health monitoring and mental health services for the surrounding communities, fund long-term environmental monitoring, pay a $15 million civil penalty, and take other actions to protect nearby waterways and drinking water resources.

Together with other response costs and rail safety enhancements, Norfolk Southern estimates that it will spend more than $1 billion to address the contamination and other harms caused by the East Palestine derailment and improve rail safety and operations.

In the hours following the derailment, EPA personnel arrived on site, and they have remained there to ensure that the people of East Palestine are protected and have the most up-to-date information. In those early days, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan promised that Norfolk Southern would be held accountable for its actions. Since then, as EPA and DOJ pursued a strong enforcement action to deliver on that commitment, EPA has continued to stay engaged in the community, directing cleanup activities, collecting air, water and soil samples, and participating in community meetings. The Administration has led a robust, multi-agency effort—including the Department of Transportation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services—to fulfill President Biden’s commitment to “supporting the people of East Palestine and all those affected in surrounding areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania every step of the way.”

“No community should have to experience the trauma inflicted upon the residents of East Palestine,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why President Biden pledged from the beginning that his Administration would stand with the community every step of the way. Today’s enforcement action delivers on this commitment, ensures the cleanup is paid for by the company, and helps prevent another disaster like this from happening again. Because of this settlement, residents and first responders will have greater access to health services, trains will be safer and waterways will be cleaner.”

“The President issued an executive order which promised to address the disaster’s long-term effects and to hold Norfolk Southern responsible for its train derailing and the burning of hazardous chemicals in East Palestine. This settlement helps fulfill that promise,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “Importantly, those who will most directly benefit from this settlement are those who were most directly affected by the disaster. And the rail safety commitments will help prevent future catastrophic railway events.”

Today’s settlement follows a complaint filed by the United States against Norfolk Southern in March 2023 for unlawful discharges of pollutants and hazardous substances caused by the train derailment. In February 2023, EPA issued a unilateral administrative order, holding Norfolk Southern accountable for the damage done to the community. The order required cleanup of spilled substances and impacted soils, as well as payment of all costs to the U.S. government. EPA also issued an order under the Clean Water Act to clean up oil spilled into the surrounding waterways. Since then, EPA has been directing and overseeing the extensive cleanup activities.

In total, Norfolk Southern estimates that it will spend more than $1 billion to address the contamination caused by the East Palestine derailment and improve rail safety and operations, which includes this settlement with the United States valued at over $310 million, as well as around $780 million in environmental response costs incurred by Norfolk Southern. Norfolk Southern has estimated its costs since the derailment will exceed $200 million in rail safety enhancements, including those required by this settlement.

To help ensure that no community goes through what East Palestine residents have faced, the settlement also requires Norfolk Southern to improve coordination with government officials and other stakeholders during emergency responses. Specifically, Norfolk Southern will create and adopt a procedure for coordinating with first responders and government officials, where appropriate, before restoring and reopening tracks for use after a derailment involving spilled hazardous material. Norfolk Southern will also create and adopt a procedure for coordinating with government officials and other stakeholders in advance of any vent and burn proposed by the company.

Under the settlement, Norfolk Southern has agreed to:

  • Spend an estimated $235 million for all past and future costs, so that cleanup efforts can continue and the company, rather than taxpayers, covers the cost.
  • Pay a $15 million civil penalty to resolve the alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
  • Pay $25 million for a 20-year community health program that includes medical monitoring for qualified individuals and mental health services for individuals residing in affected counties – including those in Pennsylvania – as well as first responders who worked at the site, and a community facilitation plan to assist community members in using the benefits of the program.
  • Spend approximately $15 million to implement long-term monitoring of groundwater and surface water for a period of 10 years.
  • Pay $15 million for a private drinking water monitoring fund that will continue the existing private drinking water well monitoring program for 10 years.
  • Implement a “waterways remediation plan,” with an estimated budget of $6 million, for projects in Leslie Run and Sulphur Run that will prioritize addressing historical pollution, reducing non-point source pollution through infrastructure upgrades and stormwater management projects, and restoring aquatic and riparian habitat.
  • Pay $175,000 for natural resource damages, to be used by the United States to restore, rehabilitate, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources injured as a result of the derailment.

In addition, the consent decree requires Norfolk Southern to undertake projects to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail, which will include installation of additional devices to detect overheated wheel bearings early enough to prevent derailments like the one that happened in East Palestine. All told, Norfolk Southern has estimated its costs dating from the derailment will exceed $200 million in rail safety enhancements.

The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, is subject to a minimum 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The details of today’s settlement are available on the Justice Department’s website.

Additional Background

EPA is committed to protecting the health and safety of East Palestine and surrounding communities. EPA personnel have been on site since the initial hours of the train derailment, and the agency continues to provide residents the most up-to-date information via the website, welcome center, community meetings, newsletters and more.

Immediately following the train derailment, EPA established a 24/7 air monitoring and sampling network. EPA also began coordinating with state and local officials to monitor environmental impacts on the community. Over the course of the response, EPA has collected over 115 million air monitoring data points and over 45,000 air, water and soil samples, giving the agency confidence in the safety of air, water and soil in the community. Since the evacuation was lifted, no sustained chemicals of concern have been found in the air.

To date, more than 177,000 tons of contaminated soil and more than 69 million gallons of wastewater have been removed from the community and work continues to remove contamination from area creeks and soil sampling at the derailment site to ensure all contamination has been remediated.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $4,000,000 in Brownfield Grants Through Investing in America Agenda to Rehabilitate and Revitalize Communities in Arkansas

6 hours 30 minutes ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 23, 2024)  –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $4 million in grants from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Arkansas while advancing environmental justice. These investments through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Programs will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

EPA selected the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment and the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District for more than $3 million total in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant programs. In addition, EPA is announcing $1 million in supplemental funding to existing, high-performing Brownfields RLF Grant Programs to help expedite their continued work at sites in Arkansas.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites,” said President Joe Biden. “I've long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment. Under my Administration, we are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most. I am proud that my Administration is helping Philadelphia clean up and transform this area into an economic engine, while tackling a longstanding environmental injustice and creating good-paying jobs.”

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.” 

“The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment and Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District have impressive records of getting the most out of Brownfields funding by effectively investing in assessment and cleanup efforts to benefit both urban and rural areas,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “These historic funding amounts from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will help revitalize more properties and clean up more neighborhoods.”

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

State Funding Breakdown:

Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Program Selection

The following organizations in Arkansas have been selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs.

Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment has been selected to receive $1 million 15 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop five cleanup plans and conduct community engagement activities. Priority sites include five small vacant and dilapidated commercial and residential buildings in downtown Earle; a former auto repair site in the West Memphis Broadway Corridor, and a fire station, a former bulk oil and chemical distribution facility, and the Booker Arts Magnet School in East Little Rock.

Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, Inc., is receiving $2 million to cleanup wing of the former Warner Brown Hospital in the city of El Dorado. The 2.7-acre cleanup site operated as a hospital and has been vacant since 2015. It is contaminated with heavy metals and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to develop a Community Involvement Plan and conduct community engagement activities.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Non-competitive Supplemental Funding Through the Existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Program

EPA is announcing $1 million in non-competitive supplemental funding to successful existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant programs that have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. RLF Grants provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. The funding announced today will help communities continue to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfield sites.

Pulaski County Brownfields Program has been selected to receive $1 million to help underserved areas in Pulaski County. The RLF program has successfully made loans or subgrants leading to 19 cleanup projects that are either completed or in progress. Potential projects highlighted for use of the BIL funding include the former hotel and job training site and the Godsey Cleaners. The BIL funding will extend the capacity of the program to provide funding for more cleanups in the most underserved areas in Pulaski County.

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Additional Background:

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites to address the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To learn more about RLF Technical Assistance grant recipient visit EPA’s Brownfields Grow America webpage.

 

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.     

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

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Region 06

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $1.3 Million in Brownfield Grants Through Investing in America Agenda to Rehabilitate and Revitalize Communities in Cherokee Nation

6 hours 30 minutes ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 23, 2024)  –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $1,333,883 from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Cherokee Nation while advancing environmental justice. These investments through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Programs will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

EPA selected the Cherokee Nation for a Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant to conduct 25 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare three cleanup plans and one reuse plan and to support community engagement activities. Priority sites include open fields with vegetation in Skiatook, a 2.4-acre developed site with several structures in Bartlesville, the historic Citizen's Bank building and former jail in Marble City, and a 15-acre undeveloped site near a former cold storage plant in Stilwell.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites,” said President Joe Biden. “I've long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment. Under my Administration, we are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most. I am proud that my Administration is helping Philadelphia clean up and transform this area into an economic engine, while tackling a longstanding environmental injustice and creating good-paying jobs.”

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.” 

“The Cherokee Nation continues its impressive work to clean up abandoned and contaminated properties to create healthy neighborhoods for their citizens,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Historic funding amounts from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda are providing more opportunities for Tribes to invest in their own lands, environment, and well-being.”

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Additional Background:

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites to address the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To learn more about RLF Technical Assistance grant recipient visit EPA’s Brownfields Grow America webpage.

 

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.     

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

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Region 06

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $2.79 Million in Brownfield Grants Through Investing in America Agenda to Rehabilitate and Revitalize Communities in Louisiana

6 hours 30 minutes ago

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $2.79 Million in Brownfield Grants Through Investing in America Agenda to Rehabilitate and Revitalize Communities in Louisiana

Funded by $1.5 billion investment into Brownfields sites from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address legacy pollution, advance environmental justice, and create healthier communities

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 23, 2024)  –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $2.79 million in grant awards from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Louisiana while advancing environmental justice. These investments through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

EPA selected the cities of Alexandria, Bogalusa and Baker and the Rapides Area Planning Commission for $2.79 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant programs.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites,” said President Joe Biden. “I've long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment. Under my Administration, we are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most. I am proud that my Administration is helping Philadelphia clean up and transform this area into an economic engine, while tackling a longstanding environmental injustice and creating good-paying jobs.”

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.” 

“This announcement is a significant step toward revitalizing the community and addressing long-standing environmental and economic challenges. This grant will fund comprehensive environmental site assessments and support the development of cleanup plans, site reuse assessments, a revitalization plan, and a market study, alongside robust community engagement efforts. I was proud to help craft and vote for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which is delivering unprecedented support to our state. This grant is moving environmental justice forward, promises substantial economic revitalization and improved public health for the residents of Baker, and is fostering a brighter, more sustainable future,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (LA-02).

“Louisiana’s many successful Brownfields programs show the variety of ways big cities and small towns can leverage this funding to spur revitalization by cleaning up long-standing sources of contamination,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Across the state, parishes and cities are making great investments for their residents with EPA’s Brownfields funding.”

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

State Funding Breakdown:

Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Program Selection

These Louisiana organizations have been selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs.

· The city of Alexandria has been selected for a $1,290,550 Brownfields Cleanup Grant for the 1-acre former Rush's Cleaners site at 210 Bolton Avenue, which is contaminated with volatile organic contaminants from leaking equipment and associated piping, and improper storage and disposal. Grant funds also will be used to update the city's existing Community Involvement Plan, update the brownfield project website, and conduct other community engagement activities.

· The city of Baker will receive a $500,000 for a Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct 15 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to identify and evaluate additional sites, prepare four cleanup plans, conduct two site reuse assessments, prepare one revitalization plan and one market study, conduct two visioning sessions, prepare a Community Involvement Plan, and support community engagement. Priority sites include a vacant commercial strip mall and a former filling station and tire shop.

· The city of Bogalusa will receive a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct 15 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to identify and prioritize additional sites, prepare six cleanup plans and one revitalization plan, conduct two site reuse assessments, conduct three visioning sessions, and support other community engagement activities. The grant will target the Poplas Neighborhood, the Terrace Neighborhood, and Richardson Town. Priority sites include seven downtown storefront properties in a state of disrepair and a former restaurant and bar.

· The Rapides Area Planning Commission will receive a $500,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to conduct 14 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to identify and prioritize additional sites, develop three cleanup plans and one site reuse plan, and support community engagement activities, including the development of a Community Involvement Plan. The target area for this grant is the city of Pineville's Downtown Neighborhood, including a former dry cleaning facility on Main Street, the former Huey P. Long Charity Hospital site, and a former gas station located on Main Street.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Additional Background:

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites to address the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To learn more about RLF Technical Assistance grant recipient visit EPA’s Brownfields Grow America webpage.

 

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.     

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

###

Region 06

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $500,000 Brownfields Grant Through Investing in America Agenda to Rehabilitate and Revitalize Raton, New Mexico

6 hours 30 minutes ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 23, 2024)  –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $500,000 from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Raton, New Mexico, while advancing environmental justice. These investments through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Programs will help transform once-polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets, while helping to create good jobs and spur economic revitalization in overburdened communities.

EPA selected the city of Raton for a Brownfields Community-wide Assessment Grant to conduct 12 Phase I and five Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to identify and prioritize additional sites, prepare cleanup and reuse plans for priority sites and up to six additional sites, and conduct community engagement activities. Priority sites include a nearly 1-acre former family-run market, a 214.5-acre former horse-racing track, and a 6.6-acre former hospital site.

“Far too many communities across America have suffered the harmful economic and health consequences of living near polluted brownfield sites,” said President Joe Biden. “I've long believed that people who’ve borne the burden of pollution should be the first to see the benefits of new investment. Under my Administration, we are making that a reality by ensuring the historic resources from my Investing in America agenda reach communities that need it most. I am proud that my Administration is helping Philadelphia clean up and transform this area into an economic engine, while tackling a longstanding environmental injustice and creating good-paying jobs.”

“President Biden sees contaminated sites and blighted areas as an opportunity to invest in healthier, revitalized communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why he secured historic funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supercharging EPA’s Brownfields program to clean up contaminated properties in overburdened communities and bring them back into productive use.” 

“EPA’s Brownfields funding helps communities of all sizes deal with the environmental and economic burden of abandoned, contaminated properties,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “This grant from President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda will give Raton a boost to clean up these sites and revitalize their environment while spurring more economic development.”

“I’m proud to welcome this important investment that will help clean up abandoned facilities that leak toxic waste and transform them into assets to the community,” said U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (NM). “This funding is a win-win for New Mexico by helping the City of Raton enjoy cleaner air and a safer environment while expanding economic opportunities through renovations of these deserted properties.”

"This $500,000 investment in Raton for brownfield assessment and cleanup preparation will be welcomed by all local residents,” said Rep. Leger Fernández (NM-03). “This investment, which was made possible by our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a tremendous opportunity for our community to turn abandoned and oftentimes environmentally hazardous sites into thriving business hubs and vibrant community spaces. I look forward to seeing Raton flourish as a result of this funding." 

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations in all aspects of its work. Approximately 86% of the MAC and RLF Supplemental program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

Additional Background:

EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites to address the health, economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.7 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. Prior to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program made approximately $60 million available each year. Thanks to the President’s historic investments in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA has now increased that yearly investment nearly 400 percent. More than half of the funding available for this grant cycle (approximately $160 million) comes from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This investment has also allowed the MAC grants’ maximum award amounts to increase significantly from $500,000 to a new maximum of $5 million per award.

To see the list of the FY 2024 Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup applicants selected for funding visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To see the list of RLF Supplemental funding recipients visit EPA’s FY 2024  Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup Applicants webpage.

 

To learn more about RLF Technical Assistance grant recipient visit EPA’s Brownfields Grow America webpage.

 

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.     

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

###

Region 06

Poor Air Quality Expected for parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire on May 22, 2024

1 day 6 hours ago

BOSTON (May 22, 2024) – New England state air quality forecasters are predicting air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups, due to elevated ground-level ozone. Sensitive groups include people with lung disease such as asthma, older adults, children and teenagers, and people who are active outdoors. The areas that are predicted to exceed the Federal air quality standard for ozone on Wednesday, May 22 are:

Westernmost parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts (Central and Eastern, including Boston), Southern New Hampshire, and higher elevations of Acadia National Park in Maine.

These locations are subject to change, so please refer to EPA New England's AQI Air Quality Index (AQI) for current air quality conditions and forecasts across New England.

With hot, summery weather, EPA and state air quality forecasters predict areas of unhealthy air quality in several areas of New England tomorrow. EPA and the medical community advise people to limit any strenuous outdoor activity when poor air quality is expected. Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases, and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When ozone levels are elevated, people should refrain from strenuous outdoor activity, especially sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems. Due to climate change, these kinds of air quality events may increase in frequency and those communities already vulnerable and overburdened, may be impacted by unhealthy air quality.

Ground-level ozone forms when volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen (ozone precursors) interact in the presence of strong sunshine. Cars, trucks, and buses emit most of the pollution that creates ozone. Emissions from powerplants, industrial solvents and chemical manufacturing, gasoline stations, paints, insecticides, household cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment also add to the ozone formation. The sun's direct ultraviolet rays convert these emissions into ground-level ozone, which is unhealthy to breathe.

Also, everyone can take steps to reduce air pollution during air quality alert days. When ozone is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, members of the public are encouraged to help limit emissions and reduce ozone formation by:

  • using public transportation, if possible;
  • combining errands and carpooling to reduce driving time and mileage; and
  • avoiding the use of small gasoline-powered engines, such as lawn mowers, string trimmers, chain saws, power-washers, air compressors, and leaf; and
  • filling your gas tank in the early morning or at night during hot weather; and
  • avoiding out burning, including leaf burning and use of firepits and campfires.

During poor air quality events, it is also important to reduce household energy usage, such as setting air conditioners to a higher temperature, turning off unnecessary lights, equipment, and appliances.

EPA's ENERGY STAR Program also provides trusted guidance and online tools to help homeowners make smart decisions about improving the energy efficiency of their existing homes.

The current ozone standard is 0.070 parts per million (ppm).

More information:

Real-time ozone data and air quality forecasts EPA New England's AQI Air Quality Index (AQI)

National real-time air quality data (free iPhone and Android apps)
AirNow

Air Quality Alerts EnviroFlash

EPA's ENERGY STAR Program

Region 01

EPA Region 7 Issues Emergency Order on Drinking Water Safety at Colonial Acres of Humboldt Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility in Humboldt, Nebraska

1 day 6 hours ago

LENEXA, KAN. (MAY 22, 2024) – On May 20, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 issued an emergency order under the Safe Drinking Water Act to the City of Humboldt, Nebraska, for drinking water at the Colonial Acres of Humboldt Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility (Colonial Acres).

Colonial Acres has an ongoing Legionella bacterial outbreak in its water system that has resulted in related illnesses and fatalities, with the most recent fatality occurring in March 2024.

Legionella has not been found in Humboldt’s Public Water System outside of Colonial Acres. This order addresses disinfection of water utilized at the Colonial Acres facility and does not require any action by Humboldt residents.

Legionella bacteria can cause sickness and death through two forms of Legionellosis, Pontiac fever and the more severe Legionnaires’ disease, which is a potentially fatal illness involving pneumonia. People and patients in an assisted living facility are at an increased risk for contracting Legionellosis, and also at an increased risk of higher morbidity once contracted.

The emergency drinking water order requires the City of Humboldt to:

  • Issue a public notice regarding the potential presence and risk of exposure to Legionella at Colonial Acres.
  • Implement mitigation measures at Colonial Acres to protect against the risk of Legionella and provide a description of the steps taken to EPA.
  • Install a disinfection treatment system at Colonial Acres that is sufficient to control Legionella contamination.

In fall 2022, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) began working with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to address the contamination. Prior to that, as early as 2020, DHHS had been working with Colonial Acres and advised the facility to revise their comprehensive Water Management Plan to include ongoing monitoring; flushing; point-of-use filtration devices; increased water temperature; the use of bottled water; temporary shock chlorination, a drinking water treatment used for bacterial contamination; and other measures to mitigate Legionella risks.

Despite efforts to mitigate the contamination, samples collected in March 2024 showed the presence of Legionella in the water throughout the Colonial Acres facility. There is currently no routine disinfection treatment of water used at the facility.

Upon learning about the Legionella contamination at Colonial Acres, EPA Region 7 initiated enforcement to address the contamination at the facility.

Following EPA Region 7’s enforcement action, on May 21, 2024, the Humboldt City Council approved and initiated actions to procure equipment for the installation of a water disinfection system at Colonial Acres. The city must coordinate with NDEE to ensure that the system meets the state’s specifications.

EPA Region 7 will continue immediate work with the City of Humboldt, NDEE, and DHHS to resolve the ongoing contamination issues at Colonial Acres.

Colonial Acres

The City of Humboldt owns Colonial Acres and provides the water supply and service connections to the facility, which has a 49-bed, long-term care unit and 16 assisted living apartments. Colonial Acres also provides in-patient and out-patient physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapy.

Legionella Bacteria

Legionella can adversely impact public health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease each year in the U.S.

Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment worldwide, usually in aquatic environments. The bacteria also occur in distribution systems and premise plumbing. The bacteria can be transported from water to the air by faucets, shower heads, cooling towers, HVAC systems, and nebulizers. Thus, drinking water contaminated by Legionella bacteria poses risks of exposure through showering, bathing, cooking, and respiratory therapy.

In March 2001, EPA issued a Drinking Water Health Advisory for Legionella. Health Advisories offer technical assistance to public health officials, but are not enforceable federal standards.

For More Information

EPA has established the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, a toll-free number for further information on drinking water quality, treatment technologies, and for obtaining Health Advisories or other regulatory information.

  • EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 800-426-4791, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday-Friday (excluding holidays)

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) can be reached at 402-471-2186 or ndee.moreinfo@nebraska.gov.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can be reached at 402-471-3121.

# # #

Learn more about EPA Region 7

View all Region 7 news releases

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Follow us on X: @EPARegion7

Region 07

EPA Announces Two Awards Totaling $2 Million to Santo Domingo Pueblo for Waste Management

1 day 6 hours ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (May 22, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing a community grant for $1.5 million and an Environmental Justice Government to Government Award for $539,452 to Santo Domingo Pueblo, totaling $2,039,452. The $1.5 million grant is for planning and engineering design activities associated with improvements to the Domingo, Galisteo, and Main Village lift stations as part of the comprehensive Santo Domingo wastewater distribution system project. The $539,452 grant will educate residents on the dangers of open dumps and remove several open dumps within Tribal lands.

“This funding puts into action President Biden’s commitment to addressing clean water and environmental justice issues on Tribal lands,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Santo Domingo Pueblo will use these grants to develop critical long-term wastewater management strategies and tackle local pollution issues affecting Tribal communities. We look forward to working with Santo Domingo Pueblo on these environmental issues.”

“Every person deserves access to clean and safe drinking water. Improving wastewater infrastructure and waste management is an important part of that. I’m proud to have secured over $2 million through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Appropriations process for the Santo Domingo Pueblo to build a wastewater treatment plant and remove open dump sites. This new investment will help leaders of the Pueblo address pollution, make their communities safer, and protect the health and well-being of families,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I’m proud to welcome this critical investment of more than $2 million to the Santo Domingo Pueblo to improve wastewater infrastructure throughout their community and help safeguard their environment. This funding will help clean up the land and help educate residents on how to better remove waste to keep their community safe,” said U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján. “Critically, I’m pleased that $1.5 million of this funding will be used to install an efficient wastewater system that will benefit the Santo Domingo Pueblo and the surrounding areas for generations to come.”

Santo Domingo Pueblo identified the need for a long-term and efficient wastewater system to manage wastewater across Pueblo lands. With this $1.5 million grant funding, the Pueblo will plan and design a centralized wastewater treatment plant that will improve wastewater infrastructure across the territory. The estimated duration of this project is 14 months.

With the Environmental Justice Government to Government grant, Santo Domingo Pueblo plans to clean up 11 non-hazardous waste open dump sites and conduct six free trash weeks, three tire amnesty events, and two open dump community workshops. The grant will also fund outreach efforts to 2,000 community members to ensure residents understand proper waste disposal methods and the hazards of open dump sites, including soil and water contamination, to eliminate the practice of open dumping.

Both of these grants’ objectives align with goals set in the EPA FY 2022- FY2026 Strategic Plan, ensuring underserved communities have clean and safe drinking water and maintain crucial water infrastructure.

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit our homepage.

Region 06

Los Angeles Ranks First in the Nation for ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings

1 day 6 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO – California cities lead the nation as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces its annual ENERGY STAR “Top Cities” list, spotlighting the cities with the greatest number of ENERGY STAR certified commercial and multifamily buildings last year. Los Angeles leads the pack, with 876 ENERGY STAR certified buildings. To earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR, a commercial building must have a score of 75 or higher on the EPA’s 1 – 100 scale, indicating that it is more energy efficient than 75% of similar buildings nationwide.

San Francisco ranks fifth in the country with 368 certified buildings and Riverside is ninth with 246. San Diego (13th), San Jose (18th) and Sacramento (19th) all rank in the top 20 for ENERGY STAR certified buildings for 2023.

“EPA is proud to recognize cities across California like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Riverside that are leading the way to cut energy costs while increasing efficiency and reducing emissions,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “ENERGY STAR-certified buildings use significantly less energy than typical buildings, which helps tackle climate change, improve sustainability and protect air quality.”

“As we continue to be faced with an ever changing climate, we must adapt and build a greener Los Angeles. I’m so proud that for the second year in a row, Los Angeles continues to be the top city in building sustainable and energy efficient buildings,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “It’s crucial that our infrastructure not only thrives, but also does so efficiently with our climate goals in mind. Thank you to the Department of Building and Safety and LADWP for their continued efforts to ensure our city remains a leader in confronting the climate crisis.”

About ENERGY STAR

The energy used by commercial buildings is responsible for 16% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and costs more than $190 billion per year. ENERGY STAR certified buildings fight climate change and air pollution by using an average of 35% less energy and producing 35% less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings.

First released in 2009, the EPA’s annual list of cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings shows how energy efficiency is being embraced as a simple and effective way to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To create the annual list, the EPA tallies the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings within each metropolitan area, as defined by the U.S. Census, and creates separate rankings for mid-sized and small cities. These areas include the city itself as well as surrounding suburbs. The 2023 Top Cities are:

Rank     Metro Area                     Building Count                Last Year’s Rank

1            Los Angeles, Calif.         876                                     1

2            Washington, D.C.            631                                     2

3            New York, N.Y.                 390                                     5

4            Atlanta, Ga.                      373                                     3

5            San Francisco, Calif.       368                                     4

6            Dallas, Texas                    323                                     8

7            Denver, Colo.                  288                                     6

8            Houston, Texas               253                                     11                       

9            Riverside, Calif.              246                                     6

10          Austin, Texas                   240                                     15

11          Chicago, Ill.                      239                                     8

12          Boston, Mass.                 213                                     10

13          San Diego, Calif.             209                                     14         

14          Seattle, Wash.                 187                                     13

15          Tampa, Fla.                      167                                     12

16          Minneapolis, Minn.        162                                     16

17          Phoenix, Ariz.                  156                                     17

18          San Jose, Calif.                140                                     18

19          Sacramento, Calif.          126                                     21

20          Provo, Utah                      125                                     n/a

20          Charlotte, N.C.                 108                                     19

Across the country, more than 8,800 commercial buildings earned the ENERGY STAR last year. As of the end of 2023, more than 43,000 buildings across America had earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification. Together, these buildings have saved nearly $6 billion on energy bills and prevented more than 23 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—equal to the annual emissions of more than 3 million homes. 

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including 40% of the Fortune 500®—rely on their partnership with the EPA to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Together, since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs, and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions, all through voluntary action.

More on ENERGY STAR Top Cities, including this year’s rankings of top small and mid-sized cities, as well as last year’s rankings: www.energystar.gov/topcities

Search for ENERGY STAR certified buildings: www.energystar.gov/buildinglocator

More about earning the ENERGY STAR certification for commercial buildings: www.energystar.gov/buildingcertification

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

Region 09

EPA Finalizes Order with California Department of Corrections Regarding San Luis Obispo Treatment Plant

1 day 6 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for claims of Clean Water Act violations at the California Men’s Colony drinking water treatment facility in San Luis Obispo, California. The order addresses the plant's unauthorized discharges of filter backwash water to Chorro Reservoir in violation of the Clean Water Act.

“This order ensures that the California Men’s Colony treatment plant will take action to prevent further unauthorized discharges into Chorro Reservoir and protect against the contamination of the state’s water resources,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “With our state partners we will continue to enforce compliance with the Clean Water Act, thereby protecting our public health and environment.”

This is the second Administrative Order on Consent entered into between the EPA and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation within the past year. In September 2023, EPA and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation entered into a separate Administrative Order on Consent to address other violations of the Clean Water Act at the California Men’s Colony. Those prior violations included discharges from the prison’s wastewater treatment system with pollutant concentrations exceeding permitted limits, and unpermitted discharges from the prison’s drinking water treatment facility.

Filter backwash discharges to the Chorro Reservoir amounted to approximately 35,000 to 70,000 gallons per day during discharge events and contained pollutants such as chlorine and sediment. Under the order being announced today, the California Men’s Colony will be required to submit a compliance plan to EPA for approval describing how it will cease unlawful filter backwash discharges to Chorro Reservoir, how it will dispose of filter backwash fluids, and how it will dispose of filter backwash sludge. The California Men’s Colony will be required to implement the plan upon its approval by EPA, and the plan will become an enforceable part of the Administrative Order on Consent.

Read more about the Clean Water Act and EPA Enforcement.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations, visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

Region 09

EPA Names Top Cities for ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings in 2023

1 day 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing its annual “Top Cities” list, spotlighting the cities with the greatest number of ENERGY STAR certified commercial and multifamily buildings last year. Los Angeles leads the pack, with 876 ENERGY STAR certified buildings. In second place is Washington, D.C., with 631 buildings, followed by New York in third place (390 buildings). Atlanta and San Francisco round out the top five.

The energy used by commercial buildings is responsible for 16% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and costs more than $190 billion per year. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use an average of 35% less energy and are responsible for 35% less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings.

“Cities and communities play an essential role in fighting the climate crisis and reducing energy use in commercial and multifamily buildings,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With help from ENERGY STAR, city leaders and building owners are working together to strengthen their economies and businesses, reduce energy bills, and create a healthier environment.”

First released in 2009, the EPA’s annual list of cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings shows how buildings across America are embracing energy efficiency as a simple and effective way to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To create the annual list, the EPA tallies the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings within each metropolitan area, as defined by the U.S. Census, and creates separate rankings for mid-sized and small cities. These areas include the city itself as well as surrounding suburbs. This year’s list includes buildings that earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR during the year 2023. This year’s Top Cities are:

Rank

Metro Area

Building Count

Last Year’s Rank

1

Los Angeles, Calif.

876

1

2

Washington, D.C.

631

2

3

New York, N.Y.

390

5

4

Atlanta, Ga.

373

3

5

San Francisco, Calif.

368

4

6

Dallas, Texas

323

8

7

Denver, Colo.

288

6

8

Houston, Texas

253

11

9

Riverside, Calif.

246

6

10

Austin, Texas

240

15

11

Chicago, Ill.

239

8

12

Boston, Mass.

213

10

13

San Diego, Calif.

209

14

14

Seattle, Wash.

187

13

15

Tampa, Fla.

167

12

16

Minneapolis, Minn.

162

16

17

Phoenix, Ariz.

156

17

18

San Jose, Calif.

140

18

19

Sacramento, Calif.

126

21

20

Provo, Utah

125

n/a

20

Charlotte, N.C.

108

19

22

Miami, Fla.

102

20

23

Philadelphia, Pa.

98

22

24

Detroit, Mich.

89

n/a

25

Orlando, Fla.

82

23

25

Raleigh, N.C.

82

25

Top 10 Mid-Sized Cities 

Rank

Metro Area

Building Count

Last Year’s Rank

1

Provo, Utah

125

3

2

Raleigh, N.C.

82

1

3

Louisville, Ky.

55

5

4

Jacksonville, Fla.

53

n/a

5

Tulsa, Okla.

50

n/a

6

Grand Rapids, Mich.

40

4

7

Des Moines, Iowa

38

2

8

Fort Collins, Colo.

36

n/a

9

Albany, N.Y.

34

n/a

10

Salt Lake City, Utah

33

5

 Top 10 Small Cities

Rank

Metro Area

Building Count

Last Year’s Rank

1

Jackson, Mich.

34

1

2

San Angelo, Texas

22

n/a

3

Bloomington, Ill.

15

n/a

4

Sebring, Fla.

13

n/a

4

Manhattan, Kan.

13

n/a

6

Bay City, Mich.

12

n/a

6

Dubuque, Iowa

12

4

6

Wheeling, W.Va.

12

n/a

9

Manitowoc, Wis.

11

n/a

9

Carson City, Nev.

11

5

9

Russellville, Ark.

11

n/a

Across the country, more than 8,800 commercial buildings earned the ENERGY STAR last year.

As of the end of 2023, more than 43,000 buildings across America had earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification. Together, these buildings have saved nearly $6 billion on energy bills and prevented more than 23 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — equal to the annual emissions of more than 3 million homes. 

To earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR, a commercial building must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher on the EPA’s 1 – 100 scale, indicating that it is more energy efficient than 75% of similar buildings nationwide. A building’s ENERGY STAR score is calculated based on several factors, including energy use, hours of operation, and a variety of other operating characteristics.

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations — including nearly 40% of the Fortune 500® — rely on their partnership with the EPA to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Together, since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs, and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions, all through voluntary action. Learn more about ENERGY STAR.

More on ENERGY STAR Top Cities, including this year’s rankings of top small and mid-sized cities, as well as last year’s rankings.

Search for ENERGY STAR certified buildings.

More about earning the ENERGY STAR certification for commercial buildings.

Air and Radiation (OAR)

EPA and U.S. Bureau Of Indian Affairs Agree on Cleanup Plan for Tuba City Dump

1 day 6 hours ago

PHOENIX — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to properly clean up and close the Tuba City Dump site, which is located near the villages of Upper and Lower Moenkopi on the Hopi Reservation and Tuba City on the Navajo Nation. As part of that agreement, the BIA will transfer the wastes off Tribal lands, backfill the site with clean fill material, and provide routine groundwater monitoring. EPA takes this action under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to ensure that the BIA handles, stores, treats, transports, and disposes of any solid waste that may impact human health or the environment. 

“Hopi and Navajo communities have borne the brunt of legacy pollution for too long. This agreement will ensure the Tuba City Dump is properly cleaned, protecting residents’ health and the environment,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA appreciates that, by signing this agreement, the BIA has strongly committed to expending the resources needed for moving the waste off-site and achieving clean closure.”

Tuba City Dump is a solid waste disposal facility that BIA operated as an unregulated open dump for local Tribal communities from the 1950s to 1997. The site covers about 41 acres and holds approximately 307,000 cubic yards of material in its disposal areas. When the BIA stopped receiving waste at the Tuba City Dump site in 1997, it regraded some of the area before placing a temporary soil cover and encircling the site with a fence. EPA determined that the BIA has not complied with closure requirements, groundwater monitoring, recordkeeping, and other requirements of federal law.

Before this agreement was approved, EPA provided the Tribes’ representatives with an opportunity to review and comment on the draft. In addition, EPA will accept public comments on the agreement through June 28, 2024, and will conduct public meetings on May 28 and 29, 2024, to discuss this long-term project further. 

For more information on the public comment period and the public meetings, please visit EPA’s Public Notice: Administrative Order on Consent for Removal and Cleanup of the Tuba City Dump; Hopi Reservation and Navajo Nation (Arizona) webpage.

For more information on RCRA, please visit EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Laws and Regulations webpage. 

For more information on groundwater monitoring, please visit EPA’s Ground Water Monitoring Requirements for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities webpage. 

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region x. Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and X.

Region 09

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $225 million to Improve Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure for Tribes and Alaska Native Villages

1 day 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced over $225 million in funding to improve access to safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater services for American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. Through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, EPA is able to provide one of the largest annual investments in water infrastructure funding to Tribes to help them advance public health and environmental protections, such as identifying and replacing lead service lines, or addressing harmful emerging contaminants in drinking water and wastewater, like PFAS.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring that Tribes across the country have access to clean and safe water, and thanks to the Investing in America Agenda, we are making more progress than ever before,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “With this announcement, Tribes will be able to access funding for critical public health improvements ranging from lead service line replacement to get the lead out of drinking water to installation of wastewater infrastructure to protect public health and improve water quality in lakes, rivers, streams and oceans.”

 The FY 2024 funding will be administered through the following programs:

  • $69.4 million in Clean Water Indian Set-Aside through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriation funds.
  • $133.8 million in Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriation funds.
  • $19.3 million in Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Tribal Grant Program through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds.
  • $2.85 million in Small, Underserved, and Disadvantaged Communities Tribal Grant Program through annual appropriation funds.

In the past, EPA’s funding to Tribes and Alaska Native Villages have been used for everything from establishing clean, safe wastewater treatment to pesticide reduction to waterways where fish consumption is critical to establishing backup power sources for wastewater systems after extreme weather like the wildfires. And with today’s announcement, Tribes across the country will be able to apply for funding to do more critical water infrastructure work.

Some examples of Tribal Investments made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda include:

  • $1,586,000 was awarded the Tohono O’odham Nation to install a new arsenic treatment facility for groundwater wells on the Sells public water system. The system was experiencing rising arsenic levels that are close to the maximum containment level (MCL) of 10 parts per billion. The project will serve 1,014 homes in the Sells and Big Fields communities.
  • The San Carlos Apache Tribe received $985,778 to construct two new groundwater wells to supply the Bylas community public water system, whose current water source is impacted by E. coli contamination. Construction of the new wells was completed in early 2024.
  • The $1,787,500 forgivable loan that the Fallon-Paiute-Shoshone Tribe in Nevada received to continue a project to enhance an existing wastewater treatment lagoon and install a lift station resulting in improved sanitation and environmental health.
  • The $2 million for the Clearwater River, Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho to help ensure salmon is healthy for consumption. Thanks to the BIL funding through the Columbia River Basin Restoration Program, the Nez Perce Tribe will use permanent and semi-permanent practices to reduce pesticides that infiltrate waterways in the Clearwater River watershed. Reducing pesticides in waterways benefits all living things that rely on the waters of the Columbia River Basin.
  • The $600,000 investment to help eight tribes in California fund the sighting and installation of back-up power generators for their wastewater treatment systems. After some of the California wildfires these wastewater systems lost power and this investment will help ensure critical infrastructure is available during extreme weather.
  • The $989,000 to help the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma address the Reservation’s overloaded wastewater treatment lagoon system. Upgrades will help properly treat wastewater for over 200 homes and help resolve problems with discharges of raw sewage. 

Learn more about EPA’s Tribal Water program,  EPA's Tribal Drinking Water Funding Programs, and EPA's Clean Water Indian Set-Aside Program.


Background
The Clean Water Indian Set-Aside program was established under the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act and provides funding for wastewater infrastructure to American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. Funds may be used for planning, design, and construction of wastewater collection and treatment systems.

The Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set Aside is a longstanding program funded from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund that provides direct EPA support for Tribal water infrastructure improvements. The Small, Underserved, and Disadvantaged Communities Tribal Grant program was created under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act and provides support for Tribal drinking water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law builds on successful programs like the WIIN Act’s Grant Programs and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set Aside to bring additional public health protections and drinking water improvements to more Tribal communities across the country.

EPA has released guidance on the implementation of Clean Water and Drinking Water Indian Set-Aside funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to prioritize public health projects including addressing emerging contaminants and lead service line replacement projects.

The Alaska Rural and Native Villages (ANV) Grant Program also provides funding for the construction of high priority drinking water and wastewater facilities in rural Alaska as well as training, technical assistance and educational programs in support of sustainable water systems. The FY 2024 allocation for ANV is $39 million.

Infrastructure projects for these programs are primarily implemented in partnership with the Indian Health Service, who are partners with EPA in the Tribal Infrastructure Task Force (ITF).

Water (OW)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $30.7 million to Support Water Systems in Small and Rural Communities

2 days 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its selection of training and technical assistance providers who will have $30.7 million to support water systems and private well owners in small and rural communities. This grant funding will support water systems with building technical, financial, and managerial capacity and will also assist private well owners with improving water quality, including actions such as testing for PFAS contamination.

“At EPA we know too many communities struggle to access funding for critical water infrastructure projects so that they can meet basic wastewater and drinking water needs. For years, EPA has worked with nonprofit technical assistance providers to help these communities solve water challenges and access funding,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Bruno Pigott. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to making progress on water infrastructure by investing unprecedented dollars through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and these technical assistance providers are helping the communities that need it most access that funding.”

Since 2012, this grant has provided over $170 million in funding to technical assistance and training providers. These providers meet communities where they are and help them with water infrastructure challenges through circuit-rider and multi-state regional technical assistance programs, training and site visits, and focused efforts to diagnose and trouble-shoot system operational and compliance-related problems and identify solutions.

The selected recipients of this year’s funding are:

Rural Community Assistance Partnership

  • $13 million to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, including assisting communities in conducting lead service line inventories and providing training on cyber-security.

  • $3.4 million to work with private well owners to help improve water quality including testing for PFAS contamination.

University of New Mexico

  • $5 million to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, including improving financial and managerial capacity. 

  • $1.2 million to work with small publicly owned wastewater and on-site/decentralized wastewater systems to improve water quality.

National Rural Water Association

  • $7.9 million to provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, including improving financial and managerial capacity and assisting systems in identifying and responding to potential cybersecurity threats. 

EPA’s free Water Technical Assistance (WaterTA) also provides services that support communities to identify water challenges, develop plans, build capacity, and develop application materials to access water infrastructure funding. WaterTA’s services will build the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of water utilities, and enables them to have the capability to maintain regulatory compliance, improve resiliency, and sustainably provide safe drinking water to their communities.

Water (OW)

EPA Region 7 Partners with AmeriCorps VISTA to Bring Green Service Opportunities to Midwest

2 days 6 hours ago

LENEXA, KAN. (MAY 21, 2024) – In a first-of-its-kind effort for the Agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 has partnered with AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) to launch the new Green VISTA Corps program.

Through this historic partnership, Region 7’s Green VISTA program will provide new opportunities for volunteers and community organizations to make meaningful change toward advancing environmental justice and anti-poverty efforts in historically underserved areas.

“It’s a natural fit for EPA to partner with AmeriCorps VISTA,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “What VISTA works to achieve in communities really complements the goals of our Agency, particularly concerning our shared commitment to universal environmental protection and inclusive decision-making for healthier communities.”

The Green VISTA program will place three VISTA members in positions with local organizations in St. Louis and Kansas City to support projects to increase environmental resiliency and improve community health. The program aims to build long-lasting pathways that will further environmental justice (EJ) efforts in the Midwest.

“The Green VISTA Corps program we are developing in the Midwest is more than a pilot. It's a call to action and a promise of a brighter, more equitable, and sustainable future for all,” said AmeriCorps Portfolio Manager Melissa Mohler.

Two organizations will host a VISTA member based on their commitment to creating environmental justice-focused outcomes and feedback from the communities they serve:

  • Lewis Place Historic Preservation (LPHP) in St. Louis: The VISTA member will serve the organization’s Community Resilience Project, working on their alternative energy and energy reduction program, community disaster relief and cleanup efforts.
  • earthday365 in St. Louis: The VISTA member will serve as an EJ Outreach Coordinator, supporting the organization’s sustainability certification and environmental justice outreach programs.

These opportunities are national service opportunities, not EPA jobs.  Interested individuals will apply to AmeriCorps VISTA.

Lewis Place Historical Preservation is accepting applications for its Community Resilience Project position through July 11, 2024. Applications for earthday365’s EJ Outreach Coordinator position will be accepted through July 31, 2024.

To learn more about the Green VISTA AmeriCorps pilot program and see eligibility requirements, visit:

About AmeriCorps VISTA 

AmeriCorps is a federal agency that connects volunteers with service opportunities across the country. AmeriCorps offers service opportunities in all sectors with different time commitments and requirements, from part-time volunteers to full-time members. The VISTA program was founded in 1965, designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty.

AmeriCorps volunteers and members are eligible for benefits for their service. Depending on the program, AmeriCorps members are eligible for education awards, supplemental health insurance, loan deferment, and more.

All three Region 7 Green VISTA positions offer training, health coverage, relocation and living allowances, child care assistance (for those eligible), an education award upon successful completion of service, and a choice of an education award or an “End of Service” stipend after the year of service.

In addition, VISTA members who serve for at least one year gain non-competitive eligibility when applying for federal jobs, allowing federal agencies the ability to hire a VISTA alum who meets the minimum job qualifications without undergoing all the formalities of the competitive process.

Learn more about AmeriCorps VISTA.

# # #

Learn more about EPA Region 7

View all Region 7 news releases

Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook and Instagram

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Region 07

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the National Environmental Museum and Education Center

2 days 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 21, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan was joined by past and present Senior EPA Officials and other environmental stakeholders to officially open the National Environmental Museum and Education Center. The Center, which is located in the William Jefferson Clinton building on the corner of 13th and Pennsylvania Ave, is designed to inspire and educate the public about the nation’s environmental history and the efforts EPA and its partners at the state, local and Tribal levels have taken to protect air, water, land and public health.

“From Love Canal and the founding of EPA more than 50 years ago to the historic funding of our Investing in America agenda, our new museum chronicles our nation’s work to protect public health and the environment – a movement that has transcended political and geographic divides,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Our work with state, local and Tribal partners has changed people’s lives, it has restored our connection with the environment and our planet, and it will ensure that future generations will continue to have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and clean land to live, work and play on.

The National Environmental Museum and Education Center tells EPA’s story since its creation under President Richard Nixon. From the Tribal communities who have cared for and called our lands home for centuries, to the states and communities who have fought to protect their air, land and water, everyone has played a role in this movement and in protecting the nation’s public health and the environment. EPA and its partners have cleaned up contaminated sites and turned them into economic engines for communities, reduced dangerous air pollution like mercury and sulfur dioxide and the greenhouse gases that are fueling climate change, removed contaminants from drinking water and cleaned up our nation’s most treasured waterways. The agency is also engaging in meaningful ways with environmental justice and overburdened communities to bring about positive changes in every single zip code.

As visitors explore the museum, they will learn about environmental conditions in the 1960s and 1970s before EPA was established. They will explore the progress that EPA and its partners have made as well as the work still to be done to ensure that everyone in this country has access to clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and clean land to play on. They will also learn what actions they can take to be a part of the nation’s environmental future. Whether it’s recycling, driving an electric vehicle, composting food waste, installing rooftop solar on their homes or planting native plants, each visitor can be an active participant in bringing awareness to the environmental issues that impact communities across the country.

For the remainder of May 2024, the museum will be open Tuesday through Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed federal holidays). Beginning in June 2024, the museum will be open Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed federal holidays). To request to visit the museum at another date or time, please send an email to NEMEC@epa.gov.

For additional information on the museum, please visit the National Environmental Museum and Education Center page.

Headquarters

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $25 Million to Help Provide Small, Underserved, and Disadvantaged Communities with Clean and Safe Drinking Water

2 days 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $25 million for states and territories to invest in clean and safe drinking water. This grant funding will specifically benefit underserved, small and disadvantaged communities by upgrading infrastructure to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act, reducing exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), removing sources of lead, and addressing additional local drinking water challenges. The EPA funding announced today advances President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to help communities make real progress on critical drinking water upgrades.

“Across the country, too many communities struggle to maintain and upgrade drinking water infrastructure that is essential to public health,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “This $25 million in EPA grant funding, along with historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure and help ensure everyone has access to clean and safe drinking water.”

This funding is part of the Biden-Harris Justice40 Initiative, which advances environmental justice and benefits disadvantaged communities by ensuring that federal funding is reaching places that need it most.

EPA’s grant funding is flexible and can support a broad range of projects to help communities address drinking water concerns, from household water quality testing to monitoring for drinking water contaminants, including PFAS. These funds can also be used to identify and replace lead service lines to help achieve President Biden’s goal of removing 100% of lead pipes across the country. Funds may also support efforts to build the technical, financial, and managerial abilities of a water system’s operations and staff. Infrastructure projects—from transmission, distribution, and storage—that support drinking water quality improvements are also eligible for grant funding.

The Small, Underserved, and Disadvantaged Community grant program, established under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, awards funding to states and territories on a non-competitive basis. EPA awards funding to states based on an allocation formula that includes factors for population below the poverty level, small water systems, and underserved communities. Since 2019, this grant program has allocated over $130 million to states, territories and Tribes. There is a separate allotment to support activities in American Indian and Alaska Native Village communities. For more information, visit the WIIN SUDC Grant website.  

FY 2024 Small, Underserved and Disadvantaged Communities (SUDC) Grant Allotments for States and Territories
Based on FY 2024 Appropriations of $25,080,000

State/Territory

FY 2024 Allotment

State/Territory

FY 2024 Allotment

Alabama

$369,000

Montana

$326,000

Alaska

$571,000

Nebraska

$284,000

American Samoa

$141,000

Nevada

$293,000

Arizona

$490,000

New Hampshire

$259,000

Arkansas

$342,000

New Jersey

$406,000

California

$1,624,000

New Mexico

$393,000

Colorado

$462,000

New York

$1,047,000

Connecticut

$273,000

North Carolina

$679,000

Delaware

$195,000

North Dakota

$210,000

District of Columbia

$151,000

Northern Mariana Islands

$142,000

Florida

$961,000

Ohio

$609,000

Georgia

$664,000

Oklahoma

$492,000

Guam

$135,000

Oregon

$425,000

Hawaii

$170,000

Pennsylvania

$799,000

Idaho

$316,000

Puerto Rico

$478,000

Illinois

$702,000

Rhode Island

$168,000

Indiana

$422,000

South Carolina

$375,000

Iowa

$348,000

South Dakota

$240,000

Kansas

$381,000

Tennessee

$403,000

Kentucky

$340,000

Texas

$1,821,000

Louisiana

$641,000

Utah

$291,000

Maine

$238,000

U.S. Virgin Islands

$138,000

Maryland

$305,000

Vermont

$210,000

Massachusetts

$348,000

Virginia

$469,000

Michigan

$650,000

Washington

$566,000

Minnesota

$382,000

West Virginia

$315,000

Mississippi

$420,000

Wisconsin

$439,000

Missouri

$524,000

Wyoming

$238,000

Water (OW)

Texas Petrochemical Company Pleads Guilty to Clean Air Act Violation, Fined More than $30 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties Related to Explosions at Its Facility in Port Neches

2 days 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, May 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced the filing of a felony criminal charge and related civil complaint and consent decree under the Clean Air Act against TPC Group LLC, a Texas petrochemical company. TPC Group also entered a guilty plea today to a one-count information charging the company with a violation of the Clean Air Act before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn for the Eastern District of Texas.

The filings address explosions that caused injuries, evacuations and significant air pollution. The company has agreed to pay over $30 million in criminal fines and civil penalties and spend approximately $80 million to improve its risk management program and improve safety issues at TPC Group’s Port Neches and Houston facilities.

According to information provided in court, on Nov. 27, 2019, two explosions at TPC Group’s Port Neches facility prompted evacuations of thousands of residents from the City of Port Neches and surrounding areas, released more than 11 million pounds of extremely hazardous substances and caused more than $130 million in offsite property damage and other impacts to human health and the environment. Four employees and one contractor suffered injuries including concussions, burns, perforated eardrums, tinnitus and cracked teeth.

“TPC recklessly risked the lives of thousands of Port Neches residents and illegally released millions of gallons of extremely hazardous substances into the environment,” said David M. Uhlmann, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s criminal and civil settlements hold TPC accountable for endangering the Port Neches community and require the company to invest approximately $80 million to improve safety at TPC Group facilities. These settlements highlight the strong partnership between EPA’s criminal and civil enforcement programs and demonstrate EPA’s emphasis on a more strategic and collaborative approach to enforcement and compliance assurance.”

“Port Neches residents will always remember the day before Thanksgiving 2019,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “That day, powerful explosions at the TPC Group’s facility caused evacuations, injuries, air pollution and more than $130 million in damage.  This entirely preventable accident was the result of the company’s failure to take the necessary precautions to control a hazardous chemical even though it was well aware of the serious risks.  Today’s criminal plea and settlement send a clear message that safety measures are not optional and that we will hold violators accountable.”

“When a disaster happens like at Port Neches, public safety is paramount,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “TPC Group’s knowing failure to comply with the chemical accident prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act at its Port Neches and Houston facilities placed its workers, neighbors and the environment in danger. Community members have expressed concerns about potential explosions happening at TPC Group’s Houston facility, like what happened in 2019 at Port Neches. Importantly, today’s criminal plea and civil settlement includes safety requirements that will help prevent future incidents.”

“Protecting our environment and the safety of the citizens of Southeast Texas will always be a priority of our office,” said U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs for the Eastern District of Texas. “The community of Port Neches and their neighbors will never forget the horror of being awakened in the middle of the night – hours before Thanksgiving – by the frightening sounds of the TPC plant explosion at their doorsteps. TPC violated the law when it ignored its own safety protocols, which led to a disastrous explosion with catastrophic consequences that directly endangered the lives of TPC workers and the surrounding community. Today’s guilty plea shows that businesses that choose to place profits over safeguards and legal compliance will face serious consequences.”

“The people of Port Neches had their lives disrupted because of a major disaster in their neighborhood. TPC must uphold the accident-prevention standards in the Clean Air Act to ensure families and workers are not harmed,” said EPA Region 6 Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “And when companies do not comply with these important safety regulations, EPA and our federal partners will continue to hold them accountable, in this case by requiring TPC to spend $80 million to reduce health risks at its facility and $12.1 million in civil penalties so communities like Port Neches will be protected from harm in the future.”

TPC Group’s facility produced the hazardous chemical Butadiene, which is used in the production of tires, latexes and plastics. Butadiene can form a “popcorn polymer,” which can grow at an accelerating rate and cause catastrophic events, including explosions and fires. The company was aware that this polymer was forming in some of its production lines, and the risks it posed, but failed to take necessary measures to prevent the explosion.

An initial explosion occurred at the facility’s South Unit. A secondary explosion followed, and a series of fires erupted at the facility which blew contaminants into the air. As a result of the explosions, mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents within a four-mile radius of the facility, voluntary orders to shelter in place were issued for residents in the surrounding area and local schools were closed for multiple days to allow buildings to be cleaned, repaired and inspected.

The company has agreed to pay $18 million in criminal fines. The plea agreement also includes a one-year term of probation and publishing of a public apology. The $12.1 million in civil penalty payments will be made through bankruptcy proceedings. TPC Group will also spend approximately $80 million to improve its risk management program and improve safety issues at both facilities. 

TPC Group has been criminally charged and pleaded guilty to knowingly failing to implement its own written operating procedures, including monthly flushing of production lines that would have prevented the explosion. Clean Air Act regulations require planning to prevent accidental releases of hazardous chemicals and makes implementation of those plans mandatory.

The civil complaint includes 27 claims and counts – some of which included numerous violations – against TPC Group for violations of the Clean Air Act at its Port Neches facility, including numerous violations that led to the 2019 explosions. The Port Neches facility is now used for storage purposes only. The civil complaint also includes 26 claims and counts against TPC Group for Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Houston facility, including failing to promptly take corrective actions for hundreds of pieces of process equipment. And failing to address similar conditions that led to the Port Neches explosions.

Under the proposed civil consent decree, TPC Group is required to update safety information for equipment at its Port Neches and Houston facilities to ensure that they are designed, maintained, inspected and operated in a safe manner. TPC Group must overhaul its process hazard analysis program to ensure prompt completion of all corrective actions and remedial measures to mitigate hazards at the facilities. TPC Group will also update operating procedures and training for its workers and contractors. TPC Group has agreed to audit and revise their emergency shutdown procedures and implement key performance indicators.

The company will now provide incident investigations to EPA and release incident report information to the public on a publicly available website. The consent decree requires TPC Group to conduct an audit of the relief system design at the Houston facility to ensure the system can handle all appropriate scenarios.

TPC Group will also install and continually use air monitors at the fence line of each facility and in the neighboring communities. Data from the air monitors will be available on TPC Group’s website. TPC Group agreed to conduct an inherently safer technology review to identify safer technology alternatives that minimize or eliminate the potential for accidental chemical releases. TPC Group is required to host community meetings to inform the community about risks associated with its facilities, share evacuation routes, and share information about how to properly shelter in place.

Under section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act, facilities like TPC Group’s in Port Neches and Houston must identify hazards, design and maintain a safe facility, minimize the consequences of accidental releases that do occur and comply with regulatory prevention measures. Failing to comply with these requirements increases the risk of accidents and threatens surrounding communities that are commonly overburdened with pollution.

EPA investigated this matter and received extensive cooperation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On the date of the explosion, a Unified Command was established that included Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick, the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management, the EPA, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and TPC Group. If you know of an unsafe industrial situation or an environmental violation, report it at EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) page.

The proposed consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree and information on how to submit a public comment are also available on the Justice Department’s website.

For more information about today’s settlement, please visit the TPC Civil Settlement sheet. The Strategic Civil-Criminal Enforcement Policy was released on April 17, 2024.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)
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