Funding for Assessment and Job Training Programs for Passaic and Essex Counties
Paterson - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J., 8th) announced today that the Eighth Congressional District has been awarded $400,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Grant program. The funding will go towards projects to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from problem properties to community assets. Passaic County received $200,000 in assessment grants and Essex County received $200,000 in job-training grants.
"With this funding, we are one step closer to improving our environment and realizing tremendous economic potential. Jobs will be created, recreational sites expanded and towns will benefit from increased tax revenues," stated Rep. Pascrell. "Positive social benefits will evolve from these contaminated areas."
Specifically, Brownfields are sites where potentially harmful contaminants may be impeding revitalization. The "Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002" authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. That law broadened the definition of a brownfield to include mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum or areas polluted by the manufacture of illegal drugs.
Passaic County - $200,000
This funding will be used to identify and select brownfield sites within the county's municipalities and conduct Phase I and Phase II site assessments. Funds will also be used for community outreach activities. As there are a number of areas that were historically centers of industrial activity, Passaic County has more than 700 sites on the state's known contaminated site list. While they occur throughout the county, they predominate in the older urban areas of Paterson, Passaic, and Clifton. Redevelopment will promote green building techniques, enhance property values, encourage new job opportunities and reduce threats to human health.
Essex County - $200,000
With this grant, the county plans to train 40 students and place at least 30 graduates in entry-level environmental technician jobs. Graduates will be tracked for one year and the 144-hour training program will be conducted by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Courses will include OSHA health and safety training for hazardous waste workers; introduction to environmental science; site assessment, investigation, and remediation techniques, including protocols for sampling, measurement, and instrumentation; and treatment technologies. Students will be recruited primarily from among Essex County communities impacted by brownfields. The Workforce Investment Board of Essex County and the One Stop Career Center of Essex County will assist with placing graduates in environmental jobs.