Meetings, Events & Trainings

Brownfields Study Group Meeting September 28

 The Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group will meet on September 28, 2018 in Madison. The meeting will be held at the Dane County UW-Extension building from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. An agenda for the meeting is posted on the group’s web page.

The Study Group meeting is open to the public; no RSVP is necessary.

The Study Group celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. It was created by the State Legislature to help the DNR develop solutions and strategies to increase the number of contaminated properties that were cleaned up and returned to productive use. The group meets a few times a year and has members from the private sector, local governments, non-profits and others.

If you have questions about this meeting or the Study Group, please contact Mick Skwarok, (608) 266-9263.

Last Chance to Register for Brownfields Grant-Writing Workshop in La Crosse

Join the Wisconsin DNR and Minnesota Brownfields in La Crosse, on Aug. 1, 2018, for a free, full-day workshop on writing successful EPA grant applications. Get the information you need to compete effectively for these property investigation and cleanup funds — and get a head-start on your proposal for the upcoming fall grant opportunity.

Who should attend? Local and regional government officials, not-for-profit economic and community development organizations, tribes, and any other entity interested in applying for federal grants to assist with the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of under-performing commercial and industrial properties in their community.

More information about the workshop is available HERE, and a link to the registration form is available HERE. Lunch is provided too!

Economic Development on Brownfields Workshop Announced

You’re invited to a workshop about economic development on brownfield properties, to be held at the County Community Building in DeKalb, Illinois, on July 25, 2018, from 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. DeKalb is about 60 minutes south of Beloit. The workshop is free but registration is required by July 20. Lunch will be provided.

This workshop will help communities gain a better understanding of what a brownfield is, learn how brownfield revitalization can be a part of your community’s economic development strategy, and hear from state and national leaders about resources available to your community. Some of the material will be Illinois-specific, but most of it is broadly applicable to all brownfield properties everywhere.

Workshop presenters include a brownfields expert from U.S. EPA’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) program. This person also serves and consults with Wisconsin communities. TAB services and federal funding opportunities will be discussed in detail.

For more information about this workshop, and to register, go to https://www.ksutab.org/education/workshops/details?id=300

Aug. 1, 2018 – EPA Brownfields Grant Writing Workshop in La Crosse

Join the DNR and Minnesota Brownfields on Aug. 1, 2018, in La Crosse, for a free, full-day workshop on writing successful EPA grant applications. Get the information you need to know to compete effectively for these funds, and get a head-start on your proposal for the fall grant opportunity.

Wisconsin communities, and the DNR, have been awarded millions of dollars in brownfields grant funds by the EPA over the past decade. It is clearly possible to obtain these dollars, but your grant application package has to be very good to stand out and get funded. Tips and strategies from experts will be shared at this workshop.

New federal legislation, referred to as the BUILD Act, makes changes to several aspects of brownfields law, including more clarity for local governments on how to obtain federal liability protections, and more flexibility in the EPA grant program. Learn about these changes and more.

Who should attend? Local and regional government officials, not-for-profit economic and community development organizations, tribes, and any other entity interested in applying for federal grants to assist with the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of under-performing commercial and industrial properties in their community.

More information about the workshop is available HERE, and a link to the registration form is available HERE (button near top-right of web page). We hope you can join us!

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.

Continue reading “EPA ARC Grants Preparation & BUILD Act”

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.

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.

TAB Program to Host May 9 Webinar on BUILD Act

The BUILD Act (Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development) was signed into law in March 2018 and is the first major legislative change to Brownfields since passage of the original statute in 2002. Specific changes include: increased eligibility for funding, additional liability protections, and changes to grant programs, just to name a few.

Join Kansas State University Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program for a free, National TAB webinar, on Wednesday, May 9 at 1:00 pm (Central), to hear about how the BUILD Act will improve the national brownfields program and support community brownfields revitalization. The webinar will feature officials from U.S. EPA, a local community, national brownfield experts, and the coordinator of the National Brownfields Coalition. Click here to register and visit the event web page to get more information about this May 9 BUILD Act webinar.

Public Input Opportunity – Soil Management Guidance for Cleanups

The RR Program seeks your input on a revised, draft publication entitled “Clean Soil Management: A Self-Implementing Option for Soil Excavated During a Response Action under Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 700 through NR 750” (RR-103). This draft guidance was revised based on comments received from the public. This revision is much narrower in scope than the last version that was sent out for public comment.  This guidance is different than, but related to, the NR 718 contaminated soil guidance.

In particular, this guidance is intended solely for use by responsible parties (RPs) who are managing soil excavated as part of a response action pursuant to Wis. Stats. ch. 292 and Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700 – 754.

The guidance does not apply to soil excavated as part of a construction project, utility project or transportation project.  However, if those projects also involve an NR 700 response action, this guidance only applies to the soil excavated as a direct result of the response action.

This draft guidance provides an optional approach for responsible parties and their environmental consultants to use when soil is characterized and excavated as part of a response action (i.e., cleanup action), and the soil does not need to be managed at a licensed solid waste facility or through a site-specific exemption in Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 718 or the NR 500 rule series. This document provides responsible parties (RPs) more clarity on what types of substances – if identified in soil – could generally be managed as “clean soil” in accordance with state law without the department’s pre-approval or tracking.  However, the person placing or accepting the soil would need to comply with limited locational criteria. The department believes that providing this guidance will help responsible parties and their environmental consultants to save money, and make more timely and consistent decisions on how to manage this type of excavated soil during a Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 700 cleanup action.

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through May 13, 2018 to the Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, Christine Haag at Christine.Haag@wisconsin.gov. In addition, the RR Program will host a question and answer session on this guidance scheduled for April 20, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. Meeting logistics and agenda can be found on the DNR’s public meetings calendar (dnr.wi.gov search “public meetings”).  Externals are encouraged to provide written comments, as formal note taking will not capture comments during the listening session. Please note: Attendees must check-in at the visitors desk on the first floor. A conference call number is also available. Please RSVP to Christine Haag (christine.haag@wisconsin.gov) if planning to attend.