EPA to spend $2 million on training residents in communities affected by brownfield sites

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it is to spend $2 million on a pilot project training residents from 10 communities that are affected by brownfield contaminated sites in order to help in their clean-up as well as preparing trainees for future employment.

The Brownfields Job Training and Development Demonstration Pilots will prepare trainees in procedures such as the handling and removal of hazardous substances, for sampling, analysis, and site remediation, and each project will receive up to $200,000 over two years. Schemes must include training in the use of alternative or innovative treatment technology. “We are not only cleaning up and redeveloping hazardous sites, but training new workers in the fight to make our communities cleaner and safer,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.

The scheme is designed to build partnerships between community groups, job training organisations, employers, investors, lenders, developers and other affected parties, says the EPA. Tasks that the trainees will be prepared for could include the cleanup of leaking underground storage tanks, and asbestos or lead abatement, and training programmes must establish procedures to ensure that their participants are recruited from the neighbourhoods where the brownfield sites are located.

“The Bush Administration has made the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields a top environmental goal,” Whitman continued. “This is a perfect example of the Government working with local communities to ensure a safer, cleaner future for our children.”

Proposals for the scheme must be submitted to the EPA by 19 October. A variety of education establishments, states, cities, towns, counties and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for the funds. The EPA’s final decision on which schemes will receive the funding is expected to be announced in December this year.

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