EPA to award $1.6M+ to address contaminated sites in Puerto Rico
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is awarding $1.6 million in Brownfields Grants to four communities across Puerto Rico, supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Corozal and Las Piedras have each been selected to receive a $400,100 site assessment grant.
The goal is to “advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties,” the agency stated.
“The brownfields program is a powerful tool that helps overburdened communities in Puerto Rico address local inequities by providing a means to revitalize properties and promote environmental health, economic growth, and job creation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. García.
Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals. Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.
“The EPA Brownfields program is of great value in places like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where our development in the twentieth century involved a rapid industrialization, much of it happening before the establishment of our current environmental protection standards,” said Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Washington Jenniffer González.
“Today, four communities in Puerto Rico are awarded funds through this important program to support clean-up efforts,” she said. “I congratulate the awardees, urge other municipalities to learn and participate, and reiterate my commitment to support and my continued wish for success for EPA and the communities in this joint effort.”