Cleaning Up and Revitalizing Our Communities

From tainted factories and deserted gas stations to closed smelters and old textile mills, the more than 450,000 abandoned or contaminated sites throughout America threaten our health and environment -- but also our economy. No one wants to live or work near land that's unsafe, water they can't drink, or air that's filled with toxic pollution. At EPA, we're working to transform our communities into clean, green, sustainable neighborhoods.

To help realize this vision, I'm in Lansing, Michigan, today announcing $76 million in brownfields grants to more than 200 clean-up projects throughout America. Lansing's recent challenges and recent successes demonstrate the importance of this funding. When a troubled auto industry left Lansing residents without jobs and with many unused, often contaminated sites, they put a $2 million brownfields grant to work and leveraged about $230 million in private investments. With new funding they're receiving, they'll be able to continue building on those results.

The story of Lansing is a story I'm hearing throughout the nation. In small towns and urban centers, we are investing in a green economy that puts workers on the job cleaning up the places they call home. The reinvigorated neighborhoods they build are not only cleaner and healthier places to raise a family, they're also better places to invest in a business -- boosting the economy and creating jobs often in areas most in need of help. Since the brownfields program began less than a decade ago, it has spurred almost 70,000 American jobs.

We're extending that record of success today by investing in places like Springfield, Missouri, where a cleanup grant will transform a former rail yard into parks and leverage $6 million in private investments. Or in places like Nassau County, New York, where a park, hotel, affordable
housing, and restaurant and retail space will be built on top of unused waterfront property -- creating more than 7,700 local jobs. By cleaning up these abandoned and often polluted sites we can transform them into bustling residential and business districts that will improve our health and our economy, and make our communities more resilient.

That is the story of the work we do at EPA. I'm happy to be continuing that story today to help President Obama revitalize America and set this nation on the path to winning the future.

Check out this photo slideshow of previously abandoned and now redeveloped sites.

For more information on EPA's brownfields program, go here.