Gov. Phil Scott last week detailed $25 million in new state funding to clean up brownfield sites. This investment represents a significant milestone, marking the first-time state dollars have been allocated to brownfield sites.
A brownfield is a property where the redevelopment may be complicated because contaminants from previous industrial or commercial activities are present. Addressing the contaminants allows the land to be reused and supports redevelopment.
The deployment of the $25 million will be a joint effort by the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and the Agency of Commerce and Community development (ACCD).
ANR has $14 million to support projects that fall under Vermont’s Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance (BERA), with many priority sites identified in 2013 and 2015. Incomplete BERA projects include the Jones and Lamson site in Springfield, the FONDA site in St. Albans and the 453 Pine Street property and the Railyard Enterprise projects in Burlington.
“This historic state funding for brownfields will help us address longstanding environmental issues and better protect public health,” said Peter Walke, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “The benefits include everything from reducing sprawl by encouraging the use of existing infrastructure to encouraging renewable energy on brownfields. To achieve these common goals, the brownfields program relies on collaborative working partnerships across state government, our federal partners at the EPA, regional planning commissions across the state, and so many more.”
ACCD received $11 million, $1 million of which will go to regional planning commissions for site assessment statewide. The remaining $10 million will advance cleanup efforts for sites enrolled in the Brownfield Reuse and Environmental Liability Limitation Act (BRELLA). Approximately 70 eligible sites have already been identified to receive support. The funding will be used to move forward some of the state’s most important brownfield projects. ACCD will provide this grant funding to private developers, non-profits and municipalities, and applications for new sites will be available through ACCD in the coming week.