The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping Wyoming clean up contaminated areas for future redevelopment. Three state and local organizations will split $1.4 million. Wyoming is among 144 grantees in the competitive national process. The EPA gave out over $54 million in total.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Douglas, and the Wyoming Business Council will receive the funds. The DEQ and the Business Council are partnering to combine their grants and create a revolving loan for clean-up available to any Wyoming community.
Danny Heffernan, with the EPA’s Assessment & Revitalization Program in Denver, said why that’s so important.
“For example, there’s going to be funds available statewide to all communities to clean-up properties that have potential contamination on them,” he said.
Heffernan adds every federal dollar invested leverages $17 in return. Julie Kozlowski, community development director for the Wyoming Business Council, explained how that can look on the ground for a community redeveloping a brownfield, or contaminated site.
“If it’s an old dry cleaners in a building that’s located downtown, and they get that cleaned up, they can repurpose that building, benefits the community, benefits the local government in terms of tax dollar,” she said.
The city of Douglas plans to address sites including old oil depot, a high school, and a rail yard.
Heffernan said the EPA has worked with Evanston, Casper, Sheridan, and other Wyoming towns in the past to clean up polluted sites. He said Wyoming is unique to have applied for and won three grants.