Don’t It Make Your Brownfields Green

It may be tempting to leave out the specifics of sites and their ownership to avoid disclosure of this responsible party. And although you are not required to list specific sites in your application, your chances of success will be compromised if you don’t.

Property-specific determinations are a new element of the grant program, and they can complicate an application, bringing uncertainty into site eligibility. To avoid any complications in your application, disclose as much information as possible, and be sure to include the following:

Site history and chain of ownership

• Describe how the site’s current and past uses raises questions about its environmental condition.

• Visit the county recorders office or interview local historians to determine the chain of ownership.

Site contamination and anticipated enforcement actions

• Work with the state or tribal environmental officer to prepare this section. Keep in mind that the EPA will verify the validity of the information included.

Ownership issues (if you don’t own the site)

• Detail your relationship with the site’s owner.

• Describe the owner’s role in the work to be performed.

• Explain how access to the site will be gained.

Ownership issues (if you own the site)

• Tax foreclosure and eminent domain can provide some protection from liability.

• Consider that if you purchased or accepted the site through a charitable donation without meeting the “all appropriate inquiry” test, you may be considered the responsible party and be deemed ineligible for public funding.

Ranking Criteria

The first of these criteria is Budget, and it is worth five points. If you are applying for both hazardous and petroleum funding, it will be necessary to provide two separate budgets.

Be sure to include all elements that are associated with the effort (e.g., preparation of a QAPP, sampling plans, conduct Phase I and II ESAs, public outreach, etc.). Keep in mind that up to 10 percent of the budget can be used to monitor the health of populations exposed to one or more substances.

Another criterion is Community Need, and it is one of three criteria worth 15 points. It’s important to fully explain how cleanup of the targeted site will benefit the economy, residents and environment in your community.

This is also a good opportunity to point out any environmental justice issues that may exist. Successful applicants typically provide some perspective by explaining how pervasive brownfields are in their communities and why the areas they are proposing for cleanup are worthy of the most immediate attention.

Site Selection Process, worth 10 points, requires you to describe your process for prioritizing sites. Criteria for prioritization typically found in successful proposals include proximity to municipal wells or residential areas, visibility of the site and tax delinquency. Use the criteria to bridge the gap between conducting ESAs and your vision for redevelopment.

Next is Sustainable Reuse of Brownfields/Development Potential, worth 10 points. Here, you must outline the planning, public outreach and strategic partnerships that will play a role in your overall strategy for cleanup of the site.

Your chances of impressing the grant decision makers will greatly increase if you can discuss how your community ordinances or in-fill and brownfield development practices dovetail with the EPA’s priorities (e.g., green building design, smart growth, etc.).

Creation and/or Preservation of Greenspace/Open Space or Nonprofit Purpose is a criterion worth five points. Here you must outline how existing parks, trail alignments or nonprofit entities, such as a youth center or redevelopment agency, will play a role in the brownfields project.

If you are pursing funding for a site that already includes a built environment, your opportunity to shine is in the Reuse of Existing Infrastructure section, worth five points. Be sure to include as many details as possible about the existing infrastructure, such as access to public utilities and transit services.

Applicants who can demonstrate this type of commitment to revitalizing an urban core versus growing an outlying area give the perception that their community is a sustainable one, worthy of public investment.

Similar to the Community Notification section within Threshold Criteria, a Community Involvement section, worth 15 points, needs to be completed within the Ranking Criteria category.

In this section, you’ll need to further outline your strategy for engaging the public in the project. Be sure that the people included on your list of community-based organizations are all familiar with and involved in the project, as the EPA may contact them.

Page 2 of 4 | Previous page | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Get Up And Go
  2. The Mitigation Connection
  3. Winning Ways to be Unique
  4. Building Blocks
  5. Voter Turn-Out
  • Columns
  • Departments