American Samoa Receives $300,000 from EPA for Revitalization of Contaminated Properties
Alejandro Diaz (Diaz.Alejandro@epa.gov)
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that American Samoa was selected to receive a $300,000 grant to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program.
Nationwide, more than 151 communities have been selected to receive grants totaling more than $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding. These funds will help under-served and economically disadvantaged communities assess and clean up contaminated properties and return them to productive reuse.
“This Brownfields grant will provide American Samoa an opportunity to plan cleanup efforts in the Pago Pago Harbor area,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “This can lead to redevelopment, attract jobs and promote economic revitalization, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure and protecting the community and the environment.”
"We welcome the news of this Brownfields funding for the assessment of the Old Tafuna Scrap Metal Yard as a major milestone in our government’s journey to rehabilitate the property for airport development and expansion plans,” said Director of American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency Fa’amao Asalele. “We thank the EPA for this grant award as an important step towards improving our airport infrastructure."
The $300,000 Brownfields Assessment grant will support American Samoa’s assessment and cleanup planning for properties in the Pago Pago Harbor area. This funding will help advance recovery from several devasting recent events, including 2018’s Tropical Cyclone Gita and other tropical storms that destroyed buildings and caused flooding throughout the island. The funds will be used to assess the environmental damage in the Pago Pago harbor and work with partners toward sustainable redevelopment.
A brownfield is a property for which the site’s expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, Brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding brought about further investment, from both public and private sources, which led to the creation of more than 160,000 jobs.
EPA’s Brownfields Program grants have been shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
- Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15 percent following cleanup.
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, which implements and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 tribal nations.