Redevelopment in Environmental Justice (EJ) areas has been important in the brownfield community for many, many years. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Brownfields (MNB) applied for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Community-wide Brownfield Assessment grant in 2016. The EPA grant was intended for sites in under-served communities within EJ areas in the seven-county, Twin Cities metro area. The EPA grant was awarded in early 2017 and MPCA contractors began working in October 2017. Over the past few years, the MPCA has developed useful tools for identifying EJ areas. Since 2017, the MPCA and MNB have awarded five grants at sites in EJ areas, and two of these sites have already completed redevelopment!
The MPCA also has a regular grant from the EPA. Although this grant doesn’t require the MPCA to specifically fund sites in EJ areas, many funded sites have been in EJ areas. Many sites in EJ areas have the same complications of typical redevelopment sites (e.g., underutilized, contaminated, and/or otherwise blighted), and have additional barriers or complications that can delay redevelopment.
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About the Presenter
Shanna Schmitt, PG, CPG is a native of Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a BS in Geology. She is licensed as a Professional Geologist in MN and is a Certified Professional Geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG). Shanna has been working as a geologist for 16 years, in both the private and public sectors, and currently works in the Remediation Division of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Shanna is passionate about geoscience outreach, whether speaking about volcanoes with school children, discussing geoscience careers with college students, or advocating about the importance of geoscientists in society.