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Published on May 21, 2024
SoCal Receives $3 Million Boost from Biden Administration for Polluted Site Revitalization and Job CreationSource: Google Street View

SoCal communities are set to receive a sizeable chunk of federal funds earmarked for turning contaminated sites into valuable assets while promising job creation and environmental justice. The EPA announced $3 million in grants from President Biden's Investing in America agenda to expedite the rehabilitation of brownfield sites in southern California, drawing on the substantial $1.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA reports that the initiative addresses legacy pollution and fosters economic revivification in hard-hit communities.

The cash injection includes $1.5 million for the Orange County Council of Governments to identify potentially contaminated sites and $1 million for the Orange County Transportation Authority to assess and clean up an 18.78-acre site suspected of contamination from previous industrial work. According to an announcement yesterday, the City of Carson lands a $500,000 grant to prioritize cleanup efforts in three census tracts hit hard by climate change and pollution.

"With this historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, the EPA is helping California transform polluted, abandoned sites into thriving community assets," U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman said, noting the dual goal of community rejuvenation and job creation in areas long suffering from underinvestment. U.S. Senator Alex Padilla championed the investments in Orange County and the City of Carson as avenues for sustainable development and addressing the enduring harm inflicted on disadvantaged SoCal communities.

Gratefully receiving the news, Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes expressed the commitment to environmental justice and economic strategy, commenting via the EPA news release, "Our newly adopted Economic Development Strategic Plan codified our commitment to becoming a national brownfield remediation and redevelopment leader." OCCOG Executive Director Marnie O’Brien Primmer highlighted the impact of the grant on stakeholder engagement and vibrant community promotion. The historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has significantly increased the funding capacity, with EPA's annual Brownfields investment jumping nearly 400 percent compared to pre-law allocations.

These grants reflect a broader effort by the Biden-Harris Administration to advance the Justice40 Initiative, ensuring 40% of certain federal investment benefits flow to overburdened communities. The selected projects in overburdened communities epitomize this goal, with approximately 86% of applications falling within this realm. The awards announced are expected to substantially impact the respective areas' health, economic, and environmental landscapes upon finalizing the legal and administrative prerequisites.