New infrastructure deal to address pollution cleanup in North Country

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Grasse River Superfund Site, Massena, New York (photo: EPA)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The new infrastructure package, recently negotiated in the United States Senate, will provide resources to address pollution cleanup.

The $1 Trillion infrastructure package is set to provide billions to New York for transit, passenger rail, highways, airports and water improvements. A portion of this will be focused on “cleaning up” the state through various projects.

Specifically, the deal invests in clean energy, clean drinking water, lead removal and cleaning up emerging pollutants. This will be completed through energy and environmental restoration, water projects and pollution cleanup.

Addressing pollution, the infrastructure deal will provide access to billion of dollars in funding to remediate pollutants throughout the state. A portion of the funding will also be directed to Superfund site remediation. New York currently has 84 Superfund sites, with two in Jefferson County and two in St. Lawrence County. These sites are classified as abandoned waste sites such as oil refineries, mines and other industrial areas.

Through the package, $3.5 billion will be available for five years in the Remedial account within the Hazardous Substance Superfund. This will allow the Environmental Protection Agency to invest in cleanups moving forward. The deal will also dedicate $1.5 billion to be equally distributed over five years for State and Tribal Assistance Grants, specifically for Brownfields.

Additionally, $14.45 billion will fund the reinstatement of certain Superfund fees, and the Brownfields competitive grants will receive $1.2 billion and the Brownfields categorical grants will receive $300 million.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer detailed this infrastructure package and how it will apply to Northern New York. He also claimed that the funding will boosts the state’s economy.

“While New York continues to recover from the economic and global pandemic, it’s critical that we invest in our future and take a massive step forward to clean up New York,” Senator Schumer said in a press release. “Now that life in the Empire State is returning to normal, this bipartisan infrastructure deal is the first of many steps to deliver clean energy and drinking water and a brighter, more sustainable future for all New Yorkers. This massive federal investment will not only ensure that municipalities will not have to take on debt to clean up their communities, but also create jobs and stimulate local economies in the process.”

The deal will also fund over $20 billion for energy projects and over $40.6 billion for water projects.

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