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May 18, 2022

Maine to get $24M to address brownfield sites that could be redeveloped

Maine communities will receive $24.2 million under the bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clear up environmentally contaminated sites and redevelop them for productive uses.

The funds will support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties and are part of a historic national Environmental Protection Agency investment in brownfields remediation.

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or use may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

Maine will receive a total of 17 grants under various programs to help assess and cleanup contaminated sites. The awards include $650,000 to clean up the former Great Northern Paper Co. site in Millinocket and $500,000 to clean up the Shafter Junkyard site in Rockland, as well as awards for towns stretching from Gray to Belfast to clean up various sites.

Projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals.

“With today’s announcement, we’re turning blight into might for communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “EPA’s Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors.”

“We welcome this funding from the EPA’s brownfields programs, which will help identify potential hazards and encourage community development across Maine,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, in a joint statement. “In addition to cleaning up hazardous substances and improving our environment, this investment will help communities create new development opportunities to attract businesses that create good jobs for Mainers.”

Since its inception in 1995, EPA's brownfields program has used about $35 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields.

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