EPA announces grants to serve Huntington sites, southern W. Va. counties environmental job training

Huntington+Mayor+Steve+Williams+addresses+the+room+during+Tuesday%E2%80%99s+news+conference+in+Foundation+Hall+at+Marshall+University.

Jocelyn Gibson

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams addresses the room during Tuesday’s news conference in Foundation Hall at Marshall University.

Representatives from the city and the EPA announced at a news conference Tuesday a grant for Huntington and southern West Virginia counties.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the city of Huntington two brownfield grants to provide environmental property assessments and another grant to the Coalfield Development Corporation for environmental job training in four southern counties.

The counties benefitting from the grant are Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln and Mingo.

Representatives in attendance were EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Jane Vincent, State Senator Bob Plymale, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, Marshall University President Gary White and Coalfield Development Corporation Executive Director Brandon Dennison.

“We, living in the area, have become all too familiar with these properties that have just been sitting vacant for years. After a while we start to drive by and we don’t see them with the clarity that someone new does coming in. Our greatest opportunity in this city is to repurpose those properties, find ways to bring green infrastructure into the area.”

“These grants underscore the EPA’s priority of making a visible difference in environmentally distressed and economically underserved communities by providing real value that aligns with local priorities to produce positive results. EPA’s brownfield programs empower, states, communities like Huntington and other stakeholders to work together to assess, safely clean up, sustainably redevelop and reuse brownfield sites.”

The two grants to the city of Hunting amounted to $400,000 to provide environmental assessments on sites contaminated by petroleum and other hazardous substances. In 2008, Huntington was awarded a $200,000 brownfield assessment grant, enabling them to complete 13 site assessments by September 2011. One property assessed under that grant is being transformed into a hub for creative arts, including a workshop space open to the public.

The EPA awarded $192,300 to the Coalfield Development Corporation to provide environmental workforce job training throughout southern West Virginia.

Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at [email protected]