Washington, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today approval of a $500,000 grant to the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) to clean up the former Beckley landfill.
Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold said that remediation of the site will enhance multiple opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism in Raleigh County and the region. “This initiative aligns with the region’s current Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and will serve as a future focal point within the City’s outdoor economic development planning efforts for the Piney Creek Park and Preserve ,” said Rappold.
The mayor said other multi-purpose recreational benefits include access to the Alfred Beckley mill site, which is located on Piney Creek in the valley below the former landfill and listed on the National Historic Register of Places. “Remediation will also allow expansion of walking / hiking trails to connect to the nearby New River Gorge National Park and Preserve trails and other park areas including existing soccer fields, various playgrounds, and related outdoor recreational use areas,” he added.
Jina Belcher, NRGRDA executive director, said the specific area to be addressed is an eight-acre site located on New Jersey Avenue and Whorley Road in the southeastern section of Beckley, overlooking historic Piney Creek. She said the landfill operated from the 1950s until the early 1980s and was used by the City of Beckley for landfilling of various waste materials, including household trash and various business waste streams. Since closure in the early 1980s the site has remained unused.
The Beckley project is one just announced by EPA (see below news release from the U.S. EPA):
EPA announces the largest investment ever in brownfields communities made by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
WASHINGTON (May 25, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $315 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites across the country while advancing environmental justice.
EPA selected 262 communities to receive 267 grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this is the largest ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs. In addition, the agency is announcing $45 million in non-competitive supplemental funding to 22 successful existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant programs to help expedite their continued work at sites across the country by extending the capacity of the program to provide more funding for additional cleanups. EPA is also announcing selections of five Brownfields Technical Assistance Providers and three recipients of Brownfields Research Grants, who are receiving $55 million to strengthen technical assistance.
These investments totaling $315 million are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.