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East County News Service

May 27, 2023 (El Cajon) – The Biden-Harris administration has announced over $4.8 million in grants to Southern California to cleanup polluted brown field sites and provide technical assistance. That includes a $500,000 grant to the East County Economic Development Council Foundation to address contamination cleanup in the city of El Cajon.

According to the EPA site, the target area for this grant is the 1.4-square-mile El Cajon Opportunity Zone Corridor. Priority sites include a 1.1-acre former commercial and lumber operation; a 3.06-acre former ice house, lumber operation, and garage; and several sites formerly used for auto repair centers, a dry cleaner, a gas station, and a current restaurant and motel.

Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-San Diego) says, “Safely cleaning up and reinvesting in properties with potentially hazardous materials strengthens our local tax base, promotes job growth, and protects public health and the environment. That’s why I’m so glad East County Economic Development Council Foundation will receive a much-needed $500,000 from the EPA to invest in properties and frontline communities that have been ignored and neglected for far too long.”

James Sly,  CEO of the East Couinty Economic Development Council Foundation, states, "We're excited to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency to support the City of El Cajon and address our brownfield challenges.”

Specifically, the ECEDC Foundation’s assessment grant “will employ community engagement, strategic planning, and revitalization strategies to inventory, assess, and empower site-specific cleanup plans in the City of El Cajon,” according to a press release issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This funding comes entirely from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as part of Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant funding.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan says, “We’re working across the country to revitalize what were once dangerous and polluted sites in overburdened communities into more sustainable and environmentally just places that serve as community assets. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we’re moving further and faster than ever before to clean up contaminated sites, spur economic redevelopment, and deliver relief that so many communities have been waiting for.”  He adds, “This critical wave of investments is the largest in Brownfields history and will accelerate our work to protect the people and the planet by transforming what was once blight into might.”

A total of four grants were issued in Southern California.  The others went to the city Los Angeles for LA River cleanup, the Los Angeles County Sanitation district to cleanup water supplies and purify recycled water for disadvantaged communities, and the Imperial Regional Alliance in Imperial County to remedy contamination for future infill development.

You can read more about this year’s MARC selectees.

For more information about Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research, visit:   https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-technical-assistance-and-research

For more on Brownfields Grants:  https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding



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