Ohio Brownfields Remediation Program: Increasing Economic Potential Through Incentive Community Investments | Kohrman Jackson & Krantz LLP

Ohio recently announced the first round of grants for the state’s Brownfields Remediation Program. Ohio committed nearly $350 million to the Ohio Department of Development-administered program through the 2021 state biennial budget bill, House Bill 110 (along with an additional $150 million allocated by the state for the demolition of vacant or derelict commercial or residential buildings). Under the 2021 program, $1 million in funding has been set aside for the program’s first year in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. The remaining funding of $262 million was to be awarded to eligible projects on a first-come, first-served basis. In the first round, Ohio awarded more than $60 million in payback grants to help communities conduct environmental testing or remediate contaminated properties to help bring brownfields statewide back into production. economic. The Ohio Department of Development recently issued an extension for second-round applicants and will continue to accept submissions through May 31, 2022 from counties that have not yet exhausted their initial $1 million reserve.


Since the end of the Clean Ohio program in 2013, there has been a strong push for dedicated funding for brownfield sites in Ohio. The Brownfields Remediation Program provides brownfields remediation grants throughout Ohio to assist in the cleanup of hazardous substances or petroleum in industrial, commercial, or institutional properties. For the purposes of the program, a brownfield is an abandoned, unused or underutilized industrial, commercial or institutional property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by known or potential releases of hazardous substances or petroleum.

Ahead of the announcement of the upcoming second-round awards for counties that did not meet their initial first-round layaway, 61 counties have remaining allocations, leaving a pool totaling $46.7 million. Program guidelines provide that any amounts remaining after Round 2 awards will be available statewide for Round 3, which begins July 1, 2022. For Round 3, program funds are awarded on a first come, first served. Prizes will be awarded until funds are exhausted. According to program guidelines, awarded projects must begin operations within six months of receiving a fully executed agreement and funds may be reallocated to projects that cannot meet this requirement.


The program provides grants for “assessment” or “cleanup/remediation” costs. The assessment is a phase I and phase II assessment or asbestos survey. Cleanup/remediation includes acquiring, demolishing, and installing or upgrading the minimum amount of infrastructure necessary to make a brownfield operational. Administrative costs (up to 10% of the total claim) for activities related to submitting claims and submitting reporting information are also eligible, as are costs associated with developing a report “No further action” or “Undertaking not to proceed”. and fees to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Applicants can apply for Phase II Appraisal Grants of up to $300,000 and up to $10 million in Cleanup/Remediation Grants.


For projects awarded under the $1 million each county reserve, matching funding was not required. However, for projects awarded outside of the dedicated portion of the county, the program only awards up to 75% of total project costs, up to a maximum of $10 million. Matching funds are those used for equivalent eligible costs. For program matching purposes, future in-kind costs may be considered eligible expenses, as may funds used in the past two years.


Local units of government including counties, townships and municipal corporations are eligible to apply. Additionally, county land reuse companies, nonprofits, or for-profit organizations could apply provided these entities have an agreement with a local government to jointly work on the project for the purposes of the program. Entities that have caused or contributed to the contamination of properties are not eligible for the program. The Development Department generally expects eligible cleanup/sanitation applicants to participate in Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) and obtain an undertaking not to prosecute, but the Department is working with the Ohio EPA to determine eligibility of ineligible projects for the VAP program. .


Over the past few decades, Ohio has demonstrated broad-spectrum success with public-private partnerships that engage both state and local government to incentivize investment in areas of the economy that streamline financial investment. organizations that achieve strategic public policy objectives. Additionally, public-private partnerships related to brownfield cleanup and remediation are a proven tool for reducing the risk of much-needed entrepreneurial investments in devastated areas in the United States and around the world. According to the latest study from the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC), remediated sites can produce economic impacts at 7.6 times their remediation costs, measured by increased household and business incomes and increased taxes. state and local. This GOPC study also found that “[F]or for each job created or maintained through activities directly related to a rehabilitated brownfield, more than one additional job was created or maintained indirectly” for the projects examined in the report.

KJK will continue to monitor the progress of the brownfields remediation program.

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