Tester Secures $15 Million to Clean Up Montana Pollution Sites, Support Economic Growth through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
EPA’s Brownfields Grant Program to award funding to 11 Montana projects
As a part of his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, United States Senator Jon Tester today announced that he secured $15,148,199 in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields grant funding for 11 Montana projects to clean up pollution and spur economic development.
“When industries change and communities develop, Montana’s towns and cities are often left to foot the bill on cleanup efforts,” said Tester. “My bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is helping change that by reinvesting in the communities that have been most affected by leftover contamination and pollution. By working across the aisle with five Republicans and four other Democrats, I was able to secure critical funding to repurpose old or abandoned properties in the Treasure State and create good paying Montana jobs in the process.”
EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, Tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. A Brownfield is a property, which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Funding for Montana’s Brownfields projects will be delivered in the form of Assessment grants, Cleanup Grants and Programs, and Revolving Loan Funds.
Montana recipients include:
Snowy Mountain Development Corporation; Hilger, Winnett, Roundup, Fergus and Lewistown: $3,900,000 Revolving Loan Fund
- Snowy Mountain Development Corporation, on behalf of the Central Montana Brownfields Coalition, plans to perform several cleanups throughout a six-county area in Central Montana. Cleanups will help clean up legacy contamination, provide affordable housing and eldercare and stimulate economic development in the towns of Hilger, Winnett, Roundup, Fergus and Lewistown. A priority site will be the Crowley Block in Lewistown, which when completed will provide 14 affordable housing units. SMDC has already leveraged revolving loan funds to clean up asbestos at the Crowley Block with $4.5 million in state, local, and federal resources to bring the One Health Community Health Center into the formerly vacant building. The project will result in the creation of 132 new jobs while addressing two critical housing and rural health care needs. Over the past 10 years, EPA has provided SMDC $3.8 million in funding to complete 23 cleanups throughout Central Montana.
Great Falls Development Authority; City of Great Falls and Cascade County: $2,650,000 Revolving Loan Fund
- Great Falls Development Authority plans to use supplemental funding under the Brownfields RLF program to provide cleanup loans and grants at multiple properties throughout the City of Great Falls and Cascade County. A priority site for the funding is the Baatz Building, a historic vacant downtown building planned for a multiuse development with permanent, affordable supportive housing. Two cleanups currently underway include a $50,000 subgrant to clean up the Great Falls Rescue Mission Women’s Shelter and a $424,000 subgrant for the Rocky Mountain Building. After 12 years of vacancy, Alluvion Health will clean up and begin a complete restoration and remodel of the Rocky Mountain building for their Health Care Center. Over the past 16 years, EPA has provided GFDA $2.9 million in funding leading to the completion of seven loans and 12 subgrants for cleanup. A few highlights include the West Bank Landing, True Brew Coffee Shop, Miracle Mile, Arvon Block and the Great Falls Community Food Bank.
Bear Paw Development Corporation of Northern Montana; Havre, Chinook and Chester: $2,150,000 Revolving Loan Fund
- Utilizing RLF Coalition grant funds, Bear Paw plans to perform cleanups in Havre, Chinook and Chester.
Headwater Resource Conservation & Development Council; Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Butte-Silver Bow, Granite, Jefferson, Madison, and Powell counties: $1,000,000 Revolving Loan Fund
- Headwaters Resource Conservation & Development Council (HRDC) plans to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the HRDC will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. HRDC will use funds to oversee site cleanups, plan redevelopment, and conduct community involvement activities. RLF activities will focus on the seven-county region in southwest Montana that includes Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Butte-Silver Bow, Granite, Jefferson, Madison, and Powell counties. Priority sites are located in old, blighted commercial corridors and include former gas stations, auto repair shops, a former hotel building, and a former junkyard located in a federally designated floodplain. Coalition members are the Butte Local Development Corporation and the Anaconda Local Development Corporation.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Anaconda, Billings, Libby: $2,000,000 Assessment Grant
- Funds will be used to conduct 38 Phase I and 19 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop ten community brownfield site inventories and five reuse plans or market studies. The target areas for this grant are the town of Anaconda, the City of Billings, and the Town of Libby. Priority sites include the 20-acre Anaconda Railyard, a 45,000-square-foot underutilized former paper company building in Billings, and the Libby Food Pantry.
Big Sky Economic Development Authority; East Billings: $500,000 Assessment Grant
- Funds will be used to conduct nine Phase I and seven Phase II environmental site assessments and develop four cleanup plans. Grant funds also will be used to prepare a Community Involvement Plan, conduct public meetings, and conduct other community outreach activities. The target area for this grant is the East Billings Urban Renewal District (EBURD). Priority sites include eight brownfields within the EBURD in old commercial and industrial areas, including an auto repair shop, a trucking business, steel facilities, and a warehouse.
Fort Belknap Indian Community: $500,000 Cleanup Grant
- Funds will be used to clean up a former school in Lodgepole, a former Water Treatment Plant and the Sacred Heart Catholic School in Harlem, and the Old Agency Dump on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The former Lodgepole School is a vacant 16,225-square-foot building contaminated with metals and inorganic contaminants. The former Water Treatment Plant was closed in 2010 and is a vacant 3,750-square-foot building. There are vault tanks and drums inside and near the building containing known and unknown chemicals. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is a 3,322-square-foot building contaminated with inorganic contaminants. The Old Agency Dump is a 24-acre site that became an unofficial dump for debris such as concrete, pipes, and cars after its closure in the 1980s; its soil is contaminated with organic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community involvement activities.
Harlowton: $500,000 Cleanup Grant
- Funds will be used to clean up the Harlowton Roundhouse and Railyard located at 308 A Avenue in the City of Harlowton. The cleanup site was a former railyard and depot that included a 17,000-square-foot roundhouse, an office, switching yards, track, and repair and refueling operations. The 180-acre vacant brownfield is contaminated with metals and organic and inorganic contaminants. The condition of the site restricts access to the Musselshell River. Grant funds also will be used to develop a community relations plan, update an existing project website, and conduct other community involvement activities.
Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development; Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Butte-Silver Bow, Granite, Jefferson, Madison, and Powell counties: $1,000,000 Revolving Loan Fund Coalition Grant
- The grant will be used to capitalize a revolving loan fund from which the HRDC will provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Grant funds also will be used to oversee site cleanups, plan redevelopment, and conduct community involvement activities. Priority sites are located in old, blighted commercial corridors and include former gas stations, auto repair shops, a former hotel building, and a former junkyard located in a federally-designated floodplain. Coalition members are the Butte Local Development Corporation and the Anaconda Local Development Corporation.
Missoula County: $500,000 Assessment Grant
- Funds will be used to conduct seven Phase I and 11 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop three cleanup plans and one reuse plan and to support community outreach activities. The target areas for this site are the neighborhoods of East Missoula, Bonner, West Riverside, Milltown, Piltzville, and the Fort Missoula/Target Range. Priority sites include the East Missoula Town center complex, which includes former fueling stations, a truck repair facility, and a junk vehicles yard; a former school building that has been vacant since 2004; a 108-acre former sawmill and industrial landfill; and an 86-acre former gravel mine complex.
Northern Cheyenne Tribe: $448,199 Assessment Grant
- Funds will be used to inventory sites and conduct eight Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop three cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. The target areas for this grant are tribally-owned lands within the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. Priority sites include three vacant and unutilized fueling stations in the Town of Lame Deer that contain underground storage tanks, and a site consisting of 16 residential units donated by a military base.
Tester worked across the aisle for months to negotiate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House, and he was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote for it. Tester’s law is projected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.
A list of the legislation’s provisions can be found HERE.