US EPA Brownfields Grants
Grants | Brownfields Federal Program Guide
State Letters and Petroleum Determination Letters | USEPA Landowner Liability Protections
Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program | Federal Brownfields Tax Incentive
Federal Brownfields Law
USEPA provides grants for assessment and cleanup of brownfields through an annual competitive process. EPA publishes guidance for applying for Brownfields grants annually on its How to Apply for Grants webpage. EPA provides the following types of grants:
- The Area Wide Planning (AWP) Pilot Program provides funding for grantees to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for key brownfield sites. Such plans will help the assessment, cleanup and reuse of brownfields properties and promote area-wide revitalization. Funding is directed to specific areas, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, local commercial corridor, or city block, affected by a single large or multiple brownfield sites. [link to EPA's Brownfields Grant Funding]
- Brownfields Assessment Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement related to brownfield sites. [link to EPA's Brownfields Grant Funding]
- Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants enable States, political subdivisions, and Indian tribes to make low interest loans to carryout cleanup activities at brownfields properties. [link to EPA's Brownfields Grant Funding]
- Brownfields Cleanup Grants provide funds to carry out cleanup activities at a specific brownfield site owned by the applicant. [link to EPA's Brownfields Grant Funding]
- Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants provide funding to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and under-employed residents of communities affected by pollution with skills needed to secure employment in the environmental field. Nonprofits and other organizations may apply for these grants. [link to EPA's Brownfields Grant Funding]
- Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grants provide funding for eligible organizations to provide training, research, and technical assistance to facilitate brownfields revitalization.
- The Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) Program helps states, tribes, and municipalities, especially those without EPA Brownfields Assessment Pilots/Grants, minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with brownfields.
DEEP does not participate directly in the review of the applications submitted to EPA for Assessment, Cleanup and Revolving Loan Fund grants, but DEEP is involved with EPA Brownfields grants in two ways:
- State Letters (for grant application packages): Each applicant for an EPA Brownfields grant must include in each application a letter from DEEP (the “State Letter”) acknowledging that the applicant intends to conduct assessment or conduct or oversee cleanup activities if EPA awards Brownfields grant funding. DEEP will provide the State Letter upon request. DEEP has prepared an information sheet on how to request a State letter to include in a Brownfields Grant Application.
- Petroleum Site Eligibility Determinations (for grant application packages or to utilize petroleum-only funding at specific sites for an active grant that was previously awarded for a general area but not for specific sites): If a potential applicant is requesting Petroleum-only funding for assessment or cleanup of a specific site, the state environmental agency has to determine if the site meets the eligibility criteria in the Grant Guidelines (or meets guidelines for petroleum site eligibility established in lieu of the criteria in the grant application guidelines). The applicant must include the Petroleum Eligibility Determination from DEEP in the application package. Applicants may also request petroleum-only assessment or revolving loan funds for sites that will be identified after the grant is awarded. The Applicant must obtain a Petroleum Eligibility Determination for each specific site from DEEP before performing any work or making loans or subgrants.
USEPA’s TAB Program funds technical assistance to increase understanding and community involvement in brownfield cleanup and revitalization. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) provides this service to grantees and potential grantees in Connecticut at no cost to the grantee.
NJIT also provides guidance on USEPA brownfields grant applications, including webinars on the grant application process.
NJIT can serve as an independent resource assisting with:
- community involvement
- understanding the health impacts of brownfield sites
- science and technology relating to brownfield site assessment
- remediation and site preparation activities
- brownfield finance questions
- information on integrated approaches to brownfield cleanup and redevelopment
- facilitating stakeholder involvement
- identifying sources of brownfields assessment and cleanup funding
- understanding and complying with state brownfields and voluntary cleanup program requirements, and
- facilitating redevelopment activities.
The Brownfields Federal Programs Guide lists programs that provide technical or financial assistance relevant to brownfields. Where applicable, a description of eligibility requirements, availability, uses and applications, as well as any restrictions on use or eligibility is included. Examples of Brownfield projects that have successfully leveraged funding from these programs are also included.
USEPA provides liability protection for owners of Brownfield properties who meet certain statutory criteria to qualify as bona fide prospective purchasers (BFPPs), contiguous property owners (CPOs), or innocent landowners (ILOs).
The Revitalization Handbook - Revitalizing Contaminated Lands: Addressing Liability Concerns (The Revitalization Handbook) summarizes the federal statutory provisions and EPA policy and guidance documents that address the potential liability concerns of parties involved in the cleanup and revitalization of contaminated sites. It is designed for use by parties involved in the assessment, cleanup, and revitalization of sites, and provides a basic description of the tools that may be available to address liability concerns associated with several environmental statutes.
Liability Reference Guide for Siting Renewable Energy on Contaminated Property This document provides answers to renewable energy developers' common questions associated with liability and potentially contaminated property. This document addresses potential liability issues, summarizes available resources and policy tools, and facilitates these types of projects. The appendix lists EPA programs and reference documents that may be relevant to developers considering renewable energy projects on contaminated properties. DEEP’s web site also includes information regarding Siting Clean Energy on Brownfields.
The Federal Brownfields Tax Incentive ended on December 31, 2011 and was not renewed. Therefore, the tax incentive cannot be claimed for tax years beyond 2011.
On January 11, 2002, the President signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (P.L. 107-118), the federal "Brownfields Law". The Brownfields Law expands potential federal assistance for brownfield revitalization, including grants for assessment, cleanup and job training.
The Brownfields Law also amended another federal law, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) by adding Section 128(a) to that act. Section 128(a) of CERCLA (42 USC 9628) authorized a grant program to establish and enhance state and tribal response programs. Generally, these response programs address the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites as well as other sites with actual or perceived contamination. In Connecticut, the Remediation Division within the Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) has the primary responsibility for assessment and cleanup of all contaminated sites, including brownfield sites. In September 2003, the DEEP received funding from the US EPA under Section 128(a) of CERCLA to support the environmental response programs implemented by the Remediation Division.
CT DEEP's Brownfield Coordinator Mark Lewis can be contacted for more information:
Content Last Updated April 23, 2021