28 Sep Round Up: EPA Awards Nearly $10 Million to Montana Organizations for Environmental Cleanup
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will fund four Montana organizations with nearly $10 million toward advancing environmental cleanups. The EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grant program will award $3.9 million to the Snowy Mountain Development Corporation in Lewistown; $2.65 million to the Great Falls Development Authority; $2.15 million to Bear Paw Development in Havre; and $1 million to the Headwaters Resource Conservation & Development Council (HRCDC) in Butte.
Snowy Mountain, on behalf of the Central Montana Brownfields Coalition, will use the funds to clean up legacy contamination, provide affordable housing and eldercare, and stimulate economic development throughout six central-Montana counties. The project will create 132 new jobs, while addressing critical housing and rural healthcare needs. Upcoming projects include completing the Crowley Flats project in Lewistown, Harlowton’s 1st Street Apartments, and Petroleum County Courthouse’s second-story residential housing project in Winnett. Over the past 10 years, the EPA has provided Snowy Mountain with $3.8 million in funding, leading to the completion of 20 loans and 20 subgrants for cleanup projects.
Great Falls organizers plan to use program funding to provide cleanup loans and grants throughout Great Falls and Cascade County. The Baatz Building — a vacant historic downtown building planned for a multiuse development with permanent, affordable housing — will be one of several priority sites for the funding.
Bear Paw Development will employ funds to continue to provide cleanup loans and grants within five counties in rural northern Montana. Upcoming projects include the Bullhook Community Health Center clean-up and expansion in Havre, and petroleum contamination clean-ups in Chinook and Chester. Over the past 11 years, the EPA has provided Bear Paw Development $1.5 million in funding, leading to the completion of four loans and eight subgrants for cleanup projects.
The newest recipient of a Brownfields grant, Butte’s HRCDC plans to fund a revolving loan program to support site cleanups, plan redevelopment, and conduct community involvement activities throughout Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Butte-Silver Bow, Granite, Jefferson, Madison, and Powell counties. “The Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund for southwestern Montana is going to provide critical funding for properties that are underutilized and help spur development and investment that will lead to new businesses, new jobs, and vibrant economies,” says HRCDC Executive Director Joe Willauer.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Brownfields program advances President Joe Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of this announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. “When industries change and communities develop, Montana’s towns and cities are often left to foot the bill on cleanup efforts,” says Sen. Jon Tester. “By working across the aisle with five Republicans and four other Democrats, we were able to secure critical funding to repurpose old or abandoned properties in the Treasure State and create good-paying Montana jobs in the process.”
For a list of all of the selected applicants, visit epa.gov/brownfields.