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May 28, 2014

EPA Selects 9 North Carolina Communities for New Brownfields Investment Grants to Boost Local Economics, Leverage Job Creation

 

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that 171 communities nationwide were awarded 264 grants totaling $67 million in brownfields funding to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.  Of these 171 grant-winning communities nationwide,  9 are in North Carolina.  These 9 communities will receive grants totaling $4 million in brownfields funding to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.   The FY14 Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants will give communities and businesses a chance to return economic stability to under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through the assessment and clean-up of abandoned industrial and commercial properties, places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. 

The North Carolina communities receiving the FY14 grants are: Aberdeen; Dunn; High Point; Kinston;
Salisbury; Sanford; Wilmington; Wilson; and the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments. 
 
For more detailed information on these grants, go to the US EPA Brownfields Grant Fact Sheet Search webpage by clicking here.
 
 
 
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May 16, 2014

Announcing HUD Grants to Local Governments for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) Grant Program and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) Grant Program will award up to 30 grants for fiscal year 2014.
 
The overarching purpose of the LBPHC Grant Program and the LHRD Grant Program is to assist states, cities, counties/parishes, Native American Tribes or other units of local government in undertaking comprehensive programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible privately owned rental or owner-occupied housing; the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program is targeted to urban jurisdictions with the greatest lead-based paint hazard control needs.
 
The closing date for applications is June 27, 2014.
 
For more detailed information, go to:
 

 

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April 30, 2014

Vapor Intrusion Guidance

The Division of Waste Management (DWM) has developed guidance for environmental professionals and internal staff to assist in the investigation and evaluation of vapor intrusion at contaminated sites. 
This guidance is applicable anywhere a vapor intrusion investigation is warranted by a program in DWM, except for the Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Section. 
The DWM Vapor Intrusion Guidance document and associated screening level documents and tables have officially been released and are now available via a link on the DWM Home Page or can be found at:  
 

 

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June 25, 2013

USTs No Longer Carved Out of Brownfields Agreements

With the passage of House Bill 789 into Session Law 2013-108, the Brownfields Property Reuse Act of 1997 has been amended such that underground storage tanks (USTs) are no longer carved out of the definition of a brownfields property. The Brownfields Program has previously completed many brownfields agreements on properties where USTs are located, but under the previous statutory provisions, any UST issues were “carved out” of these brownfields agreements, necessitating that prospective developers work with both the Brownfields Program (to address brownfields issues) and the UST Section (to address UST issues). However, this statutory change now allows DENR to fold in all of the prospective developer’s requirements (both UST and non-UST issues) into a brownfields agreement.

Prospective developers may want to work with the UST Section if they choose to seek reimbursement for activities under the Commercial or Non-commercial Trust Funds, or if they want to “step into the shoes” of the responsible party and obtain an incident closure decision from the regulatory program. However, in cases where a prospective developer does not plan to apply for reimbursement from the UST Trust Funds or seek incident closure for other liable parties, this statutory change may allow the prospective developer to avoid having to work with two separate programs to address the site. Either way, these approaches can now be incorporated directly into a brownfields agreement in order to facilitate UST site redevelopment.

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March 11, 2013

Governor McCrory Announces Agreement Enabling Development of Region’s Largest Eco-Industrial Park

Raleigh, N.C. - Today, Governor Pat McCrory and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla announced the signing of a brownfields agreement for ReVenture West. The agreement authorizes the development of the region’s largest eco-industrial park on a former 667-acre Superfund site in Charlotte.

“This project is an extraordinary example of how public and private sectors can partner to benefit the economy and the environment,” said Governor McCrory. “This brownfields project will create jobs and allow us to transform a once highly contaminated site into a new and thriving energy-related complex.”

ReVenture West is the first of three redevelopment projects that will make up ReVenture Park, which is expected to become a unique hub for renewable energy projects and anticipated to generate more than 700 new jobs.

Located in northwest Charlotte, ReVenture Park is the site of a former textile dye-manufacturing complex. In 1983, the site was determined to be contaminated enough to be placed on the federal Superfund list for cleanup.

“At DENR, our mission is to protect our state’s environment and natural resources while enhancing the quality of life for North Carolina's citizens,” said Secretary John Skvarla. “Thanks to the vision of the developers of ReVenture Park and the structure of our Brownfields Program, this project will allow us to reuse this land, protect the environment and create jobs.”  

Clariant Corporation, the site’s owner since 1985, ceased dye operations at the site in 2005 and has spent about $40 million cleaning up contamination mostly caused by previous owners. ReVenture Park is partnering with Clariant to enhance the cleanup activities at the site as it prepares the site for redevelopment.   

ReVenture West is expected to produce about 245 jobs, $73.5 million in investment and up to $12 million in environmental remediation. ReVenture East is expected to bring 485 jobs and $235 million in investment.   

“Old, unused manufacturing facilities shouldn’t be liabilities,” said Tom McKittrick, president and founder of Forsite Development, Inc., and the lead developer for ReVenture Park. “Developing an energy park on a dormant industrial complex is an opportunity where the private sector, public policy and environmental interests align to promote the clean energy economy. We are transforming liabilities into assets - the essence of recycling.”  

Productive reuse of a property with such extensive regulatory history is rare because of the uncertainty in future cleanup liabilities. The brownfields agreement with ReVenture Park removes those uncertainties in a way that permits suitable redevelopment while continuing cleanup actions required to make the site safe for the proposed reuse.  

The entire eco-industrial park will include businesses devoted to manufacturing; alternative energy research and production; recycling and regeneration of materials; post-secondary vocational and training facilities; utilities and waste water treatment; agriculture for fuel production; composting and land conservation. The ReVenture project also will include a 177-acre conservation easement that connects the Carolina Thread Trail to the U. S. National White Water Center. Wildlife habitat protection and enhancement is a critical component of the project.

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February 7, 2013

Communities Interested in Applying Smart Growth Principles Can Apply for Technical Support -- U.S. EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program

The SGIA program is an annual, competitive solicitation open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments (and non-profits that have partnered with a governmental entity) that want to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development. The U.S. EPA will select 3 or 4 communities this year to obtain free technical support of their smart growth efforts. See information and how to apply here… http://epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm, and see the U.S. EPA's request for letters of interest here… http://epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/sgia/sgia-2013-rfli.pdf

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May 29, 2012

Program Fees Effective Immediately For New Applications.

Fees for development of a brownfield agreement were last changed in July 2006. For a few years, the Brownfields Program in the Division of Waste Management continued to receive level funding support from the U.S. EPA. However, in recent years, there have been considerable cuts to U.S. EPA brownfields funding to states, and that trend is likely to continue. The Brownfields Property Reuse Act requires recovery of costs and, since the percentage of the costs covered by the U.S. EPA funding provided to the program is decreasing, the cost portion of fees paid by prospective developers must increase in order to maintain the current level of service for projects seeking redevelopment, the resulting creation of jobs, and compliance with the statute. Analysis shows that these fees will increase from an average of $5,500 to $8,000 for a standard site.

Consistent with the statute, this fee is provided by prospective developers to the North Carolina Brownfields Program in two installments. At the beginning of the process, at the time the site is deemed eligible, there is an initial $2,000 statutory fee due. The remainder due is negotiated in the brownfields agreement, but the fee amount must defray all costs to the state (for both NCDENR and the North Carolina Department of Justice).

Analysis of funding totals from the U.S. EPA and fees indicates that, due to the decreased federal funding, this second installment cost average must increase to $6,000 in order to defray program costs consistent with the statutory requirement. This increase will result in a total fee of $8,000 for a standard project, subject to negotiation of a brownfields agreement. This announcement serves to notify all applicant prospective developers that this fee increase will apply to all projects entering the program after May 31, 2012.

Fees may be higher if a particular project requires legal review and negotiation through a Department of Justice attorney, as by statute, the Department of Justice’s expenses must also be defrayed. However, based on experience over the course of more than 200 completed agreements, program staff believe that the legal fee is entirely avoidable at most standard sites.

If the prospective developer enters the Redevelopment Now program, fees will remain the same as they are at present: $30,000, subject to the negotiated brownfields agreement, as these fees do not include any federal funding subsidy.

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May 29, 2012

Commencement of the Ready-For-Reuse Agreement Program.

The North Carolina Brownfields Program has been piloting the preparation of brownfields agreements that aid the marketing of brownfields properties. In instances where an owner of property is not eligible for a brownfields agreement, the program will, in cooperation with that owner, develop a draft brownfields agreement, with the prospective developer listed in the agreement as “to be determined.” Such a “Ready-for-Reuse Brownfields Agreement” will provide the prospective purchaser a site that is ready to go, with a draft brownfields agreement prepared in advance and awaiting finalization that is consistent with the purchaser’s end use. This will aid the marketing of the property, and, therefore, its ultimate redevelopment. Through this “Ready for Reuse” type of agreement, the program hopes to encourage a new universe of brownfield properties that would otherwise remain abandoned or underused into redevelopment, creating jobs and opportunities while protecting public health and the environment.

As a result of future purchaser vetting, programmatic project restart costs, and post-agreement modification requirements, this type of project is of somewhat higher cost to the department. The program is prepared to provide such agreements with a cost recovery structure commensurate with the estimated required additional resources. Therefore, subject to the negotiated brownfields agreement, the department is setting the estimated standard ‘Ready-for-Reuse” fee, based on these costs, at $15,000 for such sites, payable in two installments: half upon receiving eligibility determination from the program, and half when the Ready-for-Reuse Brownfields Agreement is agreed to by the owner and DENR and is made ready for public comment.

The program reserves its statutory discretion to not proceed with a particular agreement of this type should it perceive such an agreement would run counter to statutory goals or has insufficient public benefit to warrant use of program resources. No fees are due if the department decides not to proceed with the applicant’s project due to such concerns.

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Brownfields Program • Mail Service Center 1646, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1646 • (919) 707-8383 
N.C. Division of Waste Management • 217 West Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 • (919) 707-8200 
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