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CRG to receive $300K Brownfields grant

GLOVERSVILLE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday afternoon announced that the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth will receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant.

The local award — to help investigate Brownfields sites in Fulton County —was announced in an online meeting conducted by EPA Region 2.

New York City-based EPA Public Affairs Director Mary Mears and other agency officials noted that the CRG award was one of $66.5 million in grants being announced this week to 151 communities. The CRG award was more particularly one of five being announced to specifically benefit the Mohawk Valley, Capital District and Long Island.

Officials indicated that half of the grant recipients were receiving an EPA grant for the first time, while more than 85 percent of the grants will serve “small communities” like Fulton County.

EPA selected the CRG for a Brownfields Assessment Grant. Communitywide grant funds will be used to inventory sites and conduct five Phase I and three Phase II environmental site assessments.

Grant funds also will be used to develop four reuse plans and support community outreach activities. Priority sites in Fulton County include a former municipal landfill, a vacant former chemical supply company, an active dry cleaning facility, and an abandoned leather tannery located in a residential neighborhood.

CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters thanked the EPA for selecting his agency’s grant application.

“Fulton County, in historical times, was the leather capital of the world,” he said.

Peters noted that at one time in the early to mid-20th Century, Fulton County made 90 percent of the world’s gloves. But he said many of the buildings have since been abandoned and now represent environmental hazards.

“Now is the time to work with the properties and getting them in productive use again,” Peters said.

The EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse Brownfields. A Brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002, as amended by the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development Act of 2018, was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize Brownfield sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through five competitive grant programs: Multipurpose Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, and Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.

Joining the announcement Wednesday was state Assemblyman Robert Smullen of Meco – Fulton County’s assemblyman – who noted the “really big partnership” going on for such a program between the federal and state governments and the CRG.

“It’s very exciting for me to be part of it,” he said.

Jonathan Pirro, representing state Sen. James Tedisco, stated: “Thank you on behalf of Sen. Tedisco. It’s great to see this joint effort.”

He congratulated the grantees and noted that environmental projects are some of the most difficult to handle.

“We’re just honored to represent Fulton County,” Pirro said.

Jonathan Carman of U.S. Rep, Elise Stefanik’s office said he wished to highlight the “investment in Fulton County,” and thanking Peters for his work with the CRG.

“We’re very grateful to the EPA for their investment in New York’s 21st Congressional District,” Carman said.

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