Author: elisabethkuisis

EPA ARC Grants Preparation & BUILD Act

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields program provides direct grant funding to local governments and other entities for environmental assessment activities, cleanup work, and the capitalization of revolving loan funds. New grant application guidelines are announced each year in the fall, typically in October, and applicants usually have around eight weeks to complete and submit their application.

Competition for these grants is strong, and the total amount of funding available is limited to about $50 million nationwide each year. Many Wisconsin communities and the DNR have obtained brownfields grant funds from the EPA over the past 15 years.

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EPA Brownfields Grant Application Tips – June 6 Webinar

Every year, in the fall, the EPA offers a new opportunity for local governments and others to obtain grant funds for environmental assessments, revolving loan funds, and property cleanup work (“ARC”). It is good to get started early on your grant application package, well before the official EPA announcement is made in the fall.

One of the EPA’s national outreach and assistance contractors is hosting a free “head-start” grant writing webinar on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT. The title of the webinar is “Writers of the Best ARC.” In addition to tried-and-true tips and techniques, along with hard lessons learned, the webinar is offering grant writing advice from expert grant writers from around the country.

Get a head start on the ARC grant application period, and learn about recent federal legislative changes that may affect the EPA guidelines this fall. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3941484594013599491

In addition, the EPA periodically hosts general grant award process webinars. More information on these presentations is available at https://www.epa.gov/grants/epa-grants-award-process-webinars.

Got Brownfields? Get a Green Team meeting!

meeting puzzle (transparent background)Teamwork can transform old, dilapidated industrial and commercial properties into economically and socially beneficial community assets. The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program is willing and able to be on your local government team. We have experience with thousands of successful revitalization projects, we have grant and loan funding available, and we can help bring other key stakeholders to your table at any stage of the process. Contact us today to set up a Green Team meeting and get things going.

Umpire Process: Helping Local Governments Take Charge of Brownfields

Wisconsin local governments seeking to catalyze redevelopment by cleaning up local brownfields have a powerful tool in their toolkit. The state’s Local Government Unit (LGU) Negotiation and Cost Recovery law lets cities, villages, counties, and other LGUs identify parties that are responsible for contamination at LGU-owned sites and then recover cleanup costs from them. This self-contained process includes public input and encourages responsible parties to agree on sharing cleanup costs – saving time and money – with help from a DNR-appointed “umpire,” or facilitator.

LGUs can pursue this process alongside the state regulatory process for cleanup, which allows local leaders to gauge cost recovery prospects while during the remedial action planning phase. The cost recovery process, known informally as the “Umpire Process,” is available at properties owned (either entirely or partially) by the LGU.

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Free Professional Brownfields Assistance for Local Governments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds professional service providers around the country to help local governments and tribes affected by environmental issues at brownfield properties. These professionals are part of the Technical Assistance for Brownfields (TAB) program and serve as no-cost independent advisors and resource providers for community revitalization efforts.

Wisconsin is fortunate to have two very experienced and talented TAB service providers available to our communities. Margaret Renas, from the Chicago-based nonprofit Delta Institute, is a professional engineer with a great deal of environmental consulting and community redevelopment experience. Maggie Egbarts, from Kansas State University, is the TAB Coordinator for EPA Regions 5 and 7, and has many years of experience in environmental assessment, cleanup, regulatory compliance and revitalization activities.

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EPA to Host Listening Sessions on Superfund Task Force Recommendations Beginning May 21, 2018

The EPA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement announced the schedule for the series of eight listening sessions related to recommendations contained in the July 2017 Superfund Task Force Report. These listening sessions will provide a forum for EPA personnel to obtain stakeholder input on specific recommendations, increase public participation and transparency, and strengthen communication with stakeholders.

The eight listening sessions begin May 21, 2018 and end June 18, 2018. Information on each of the listening sessions and registration links are available on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/listening-sessions-superfund-task-force-recommendations. The first session addresses Recommendation 16.2 and focuses on expediting negotiations with potentially responsible parties under Superfund cleanup agreements. Registration for the first listening session is open now.

The registration form provides a participant with the option to make live verbal remarks or to listen online. All session participants must register. Registration for verbal remarks also means the opportunity to listen to the entire session. The registration slots for verbal remarks are limited due to the two-hour time frame for the session. Additionally, the agency would like listening session participants to focus their remarks, both verbal and written submissions, on the questions and topics identified on each session’s registration form. Written remarks can be sent to OSRE via the listen session email address: osre-sftf-listeningsession@epa.gov.

Wausau Riverfront Redevelopment: Grant Funding Assists in Completion of Riverfront Corridor

In late 2013, the city of Wausau received $151,171 in Ready for Reuse grant funding through Wisconsin DNR’s 104(k) revolving loan fund grant for a cleanup at 1010 North 1st Street. The property, one in a string of parcels, was identified along the Wisconsin River as part of a comprehensive riverfront redevelopment strategy. Since then, extensive work along the river corridor has occurred with the goal of bringing business and public access to what was once underused riverfront property.

The site’s history includes lumber production, manufacturing, scrap iron, and automobile parking and storage. The 3.9-acre property is one of six contiguous former industrial riverfront properties totaling 16 acres adjacent to the Wisconsin River that are planned for commercial, residential and/or recreational mixed use redevelopment known as the Riverfront Redevelopment Area.

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Public Input Opportunity – Case Closure Reconsideration Process

The RR Program seeks your input on a revised, draft publication entitled “Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 726 Case Closure Reconsideration Process (RR-102)”.

The purpose of this document is to provide responsible parties (RPs) with guidance on the opportunities available to engage the department to receive feedback on the adequacy of the Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700-754 response actions undertaken and submitted by the RP to document case closure. This guidance presents the process and feedback opportunities available if case closure is not recommended by the department. This general process is referred to as the case closure reconsideration process.

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through June 5, 2018 to the Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, Christine Haag at Christine.Haag@wisconsin.gov.

Reminder: Please Use New PECFA Mailing Address

On June 30, 2018, the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program will stop using P.O. Box 8044 for all submittals related to the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) program. At that time, all RR Program mail will consolidate all incoming mail into the current program-wide mailbox below:

Wisconsin DNR – RR/5
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Please begin using the above mailing address for all PECFA claim submittals. Reminders will be sent throughout the fiscal year. The new address is stated on all PECFA forms.

Public Input Opportunity: Variances to the Usual and Customary Standardized Invoice for PECFA Projects

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on guidance regarding variances to the Usual & Customary (U&C) Standardized Invoice for Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) Program projects.

The guidance addresses a limited number of PECFA-eligible activities, based on their common occurrence, in order to ensure consistency in approving cost reimbursement where no standard rate exists.

Comments are due by May 23, 2018, and may be directed to Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.