OIL CITY, PA – The Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism received a $300,000 assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for brownfield redevelopment in the Allegheny-Clarion River (A-C) Valley Wednesday.
The EPA defines brownfields as properties whose expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
Brownfield sites eligible to be assessed through this grant include the former Fuchs Lubricant facility and the former Quaker State Refinery in Emlenton as well as additional locations in Foxburg, Parker, and Oil City.
“As a Regional Hub Organization, the Alliance has had a long history of partnerships for the improvement of the Oil Heritage Region and NW Pennsylvania,” said John R. Phillips, II, Oil Region Alliance President and CEO. “We are thankful that the US Environmental Protection Agency has confidence in us, and we look forward to working with them and our other Pennsylvania partner agencies to clean up these multiple brownfields.”
The Allegheny-Clarion River Valley Region (ACRVR) Blueprint Community Initiative, housed within the Oil Region Alliance, will oversee six Phase I and three Phase II environmental site assessments and the development of cleanup and reuse plans in addition to community outreach activities.
“This is a game-changing opportunity for our community and our entire region,” said Selina Pedi, ACRVR Blueprint Community Coordinator. “This grant opens the door to finally rehabilitating and redeveloping these and other relics of our industrial past. We now have the chance to make them living, breathing parts of our present and future, and usher in a new wave of the resourcefulness, innovation, and entrepreneurship that have defined our communities since the beginning.”
According to Pedi, work can begin as early as Summer 2020 and must be finished by October 2023. Further phasing is dependent on the outcome of the initial assessment.
While the grant does not require the Alliance to match these funds, the $300,000 can be used as match for additional grants.
“The leverage potential is huge,” Pedi said.
The A-C Valley is one of 151 communities nationwide to receive an EPA Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) Grant, which totaled $65.6 million, and one of nine first-time recipients out of the 22 communities in EPA Region 3.