The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $69.3 million in grants to provide communities with funding necessary to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while protecting public health. EPA selected San Francisco for brownfields grants totaling $600,000.

Community-wide hazardous substances and petroleum grant funds ($400,000) awarded to the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) will be used to inventory brownfield sites, perform environmental site assessments in the Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP) neighborhood and conduct community outreach activities.

EPA also selected The Hunters Point Family, a San Francisco based non-profit, for an environmental workforce development and job training grant ($200,000) to train low-income, minority residents of San Francisco's BVHP community and place them in environmental jobs.

“We are helping San Francisco build upon past investments to revitalize the Bayview Hunters Point community,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “In addition to cleanup funding for the City, EPA is awarding an environmental jobs training grant to the Hunters Point Family that will create green jobs to protect the health of local residents,” added Blumenfeld.

“EPA’s generous grant support will enable San Francisco to identify and assess brownfield sites for potential redevelopment in support of increased access to the Southeastern waterfront.” said Melanie Nutter, Director, San Francisco Department of the Environment. “EPA’s continued investment in San Francisco’s environmental priorities will help promote both recreational open spaces and green corridors in our underserved neighborhoods while equally investing in the people who live in impacted communities with job training,” added Nutter.

SFE’s brownfields project supports the development of the Blue Greenway, a waterfront open space corridor that extends the region’s Bay Trail along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline and southward into the BVHP community.

"The Blue Greenway is the most significant improvement in our City's waterfront since the restoration of Crissy Field, and we deeply appreciate the ongoing support from the EPA for this project. This November, voters will be asked to approve the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, which will include another $16 million investment in the Blue Greenway. The Parks Alliance is honored to lead San Franciscans in approving this critical investment in our city's future,” said Matthew O'Grady, Executive Director San Francisco Parks Alliance.

SFE’s inventory and assessments of brownfield sites will provide information necessary for preparing cleanup plans and end use planning. This work ultimately will reduce pollution in BVHP and promote access to its waterfront. By assessing and cleaning up brownfield sites and providing new open spaces and green corridors for physical activities such as gardening, walking, hiking and biking, local residents will have greater opportunities to reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. EPA’s grant for brownfield assessments will help address health inequities and support SFE’s efforts to build a healthy, sustainable community for BVHP residents.

EPA’s investment in job training and placement services reflects the linkage between brownfield and economic development. The Hunters Point Family plans to train a minimum of 54 students, place at least 43 graduates in environmental jobs, and track graduates for at least one year. The core training program includes 224 hours of combined classroom and hands-on instruction in HAZWOPER, UST leak prevention, solid waste management and recycling, asbestos and lead worker safety, construction health and safety, wastewater management and habitat restoration. Four state and federal certifications will be offered.

“The Bayview Hunters Point Green Careers Program incorporates all of the principles of sustainability for people, the environment, and the local economy. The Hunters Point Family is working with other CBO’s, government agencies, and employers to create a holistic training and employment program that will create viable career opportunities for young adults living in public housing, while transforming Bayview Hunters Point into a safe and healthy community,” said Lena Miller, Executive Director, Hunters Point Family.

Training partners include the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, San Francisco City College-Southeast Campus, Young Community Developers, Northern California District Council of Laborers, and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

About the EPA Brownfields Program: 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. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country cleanup and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.