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EPA Chief Blesses Michigan Brownfields

Posted to MichiganNow.org on Monday, June 6, 2011

The nation’s top environmental official came to the state capitol today. She announced  $2.9 million in grants to clean up contaminated and abandoned sites. They’re called brownfields.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson spoke at a news conference. The backdrop was The Grand River. Further back in the picture was the old power station building. $182 million was spent rehabbing it this year. It’s now headquarters for an insurance company. Jackson said:

“Recycling land is just as important as any other kind of recycling we do. If we want to preserve our open space, if we want to have a green community, one of the ways we can do that is redevelop land rather than go out to greenfields. And that has a huge impact on water quality and it obviously has a great economic impact as well.”

Michigan is known as the brownfield state, mainly because so many factories were built, used and then shut down. Last year, the state gave $500 million in tax credits to companies doing brownfield reuse projects. Last month, the legislature approved Governor Rick Snyder’s plan. Brownfields will now get just $20 million.

The Environmental Protection Agency is sending $1 million to Lansing. The six other Michigan communities receiving brownfields grants or funds today are:  Albion ($200,000); Charter Township of Northville ($200,000); City of Inkster ($400,000); Lenawee County ($200,000); Montcalm County ($400,000), and the Downriver Community Conference in Southgate ($500,000).

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