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EPA Awards Funds to Cleanup and Revitalize Somerville Neighborhood

Friday, June 17, 2011

...by Warren Kirshenbaum

As part of $3.5 million in Brownfields grants that EPA is making available for Massachusetts communities, EPA has provided $600,000 for Somerville to clean up the former Kiley Barrel Property site. The funding is part of more than $76 million in EPA Brownfields investments across the country announced this week by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to protect health and the environment, create jobs and promote economic re-development in American communities.

EPA Brownfields grant money assists work to reclaim sites including old textile mills, sites containing hazardous substances and petroleum products and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties.  EPA’s Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

 “This EPA funding will help strengthen the economic foundation of these communities,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA New England’s office. “Cleaning and revitalizing contaminated sites helps create jobs, providing a solid foundation for a community to create new businesses and neighborhood centers, while making our environment cleaner and the community healthier.”

"These federal funds will help transform the Kiley Barrel site, eliminating old contaminants and revitalizing it so that the land can be used for future development. Brownfields grants have had a tremendous impact here in Somerville and all over the country, giving communities the resources they need to revitalize old industrial sites," stated Congressman Michael Capuano.

The $12.55 million in grant and Revolving Loan Fund money awarded by EPA to a variety of New England communities and organization will provide substantial help around the region.  The EPA funding leverages over $46 million of other money to pursue brownfields cleanup and revitalization work. In New England, these projects have created 98 clean up jobs this year as well as 135 redevelopment jobs.

As of June 2011, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $16.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding, and helped create more than 70,000 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment. These investments and jobs target local, under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

Since the beginning of the Brownfields Program, in New England alone EPA has awarded 268 assessment grants totaling $67.1 million, 61 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $65 million and 174 cleanup grants totaling $39.3 million.  These grant funds have paved the way for more than $1.3 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for 8815 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

Some of the money announced today falls under EPA’s brownfields revolving loan funding.  Since 1995, EPA RLF recipients have provided 53 loans and 63 grants in New England totaling more than $29 million for brownfields cleanup. The loan funds have paved the way for more than $189 million in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for 1034 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

Information released by the EPA 

Top Six Cleantech Cities in the United States

Thursday, March 31, 2011

...by Warren Kirshenbaum


There are numerous cities across the United States which can be considered "cleantech capitals." With a large array of renewable resources, a dedication by businesses and homeowners to become more energy efficient, and a large hub for research and development, a lot can be accomplished when it comes to creating new, efficient and sustainable clean technologies. There are many factors that make up a "capital for cleantech," and although there are more than ten cities around the nation that are involved in clean technologies, here are six of the top cities.

1) Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is said to enjoy some of the most supportive policies in the United States for energy efficiency and renewable energy. After California, Boston is second in clean technology venture capital investments. With an environment that is ripe for cleantech startups, numerous companies are moving their business to Boston. The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a venture and innovation creation competition that encourages clean energy innovation. Its objective is to provide educational opportunities and supply incentives to ventures demonstrating the clean energy affordability. As well, the development of MIT's cleantech incubator will provide Boston with more access to cleantech flow, increasing the demands for all future building to be constructed in accordance to LEED standards set up by the U.S. Green Building Council.

2) San Jose, California. San Jose, part of California's Silicon Valley, has been very productive in clean technologies. The city has expanded a number of clean technology investments and because of the research and development institutions in the area, many cleantech companies are coming to make their home in San Jose. San Jose's, "Long-time leadership in engineering know-how, combined with semi-conductor, nanotechnology and optics R&D gives it a leg up in renewable energy development, particularly in solar energy applications." San Jose is also home to the Environmental Business Cluster, a non-profit technology commercialization center assisting startup cleantech companies developing goods and services to positively impact the environment.

3) Austin, Texas. Austin has long been Texas' hub for solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass power, as well as fuel cell technologies. Its commitment to the environment and sustainability has made it not only a national cleantech player, but a global one as well. Austin is home to some of the largest cleantech companies on a global level. A large research and development hub, the University of Texas at Austin has created several research expenditures to elevate research into energy efficiency and renewable energy. This includes a project by the College of Natural Sciences to create biofuel from blue-green algae and hybrid-electric automobile programs developed by The Center for Electromechanics.

4) San Francisco, California. California is one of the top cleantech states in the United States and it is cities like San Francisco that makes it happen. Currently, San Francisco is well on its way to becoming the first city to be completely run by renewable energy by the year 2020. With projects like Sunset Reservoir Solar Project, which is the largest municipal solar facility in the state, and a new $250,000 grant to increase renewable energy capabilities.
 
5) Seattle, Washington. Seattle has been leaving its mark in cleantech society by increasing the need for green standards. The Green Building Sustainable Communities Program, for example, creates city projects that meet sustainable outcomes. Tax breaks and loans are provided to businesses and residences that utilize green practices. Seattle has been a leader in using their garbage to get electricity. They have invested into electricity from garbage landfills.
 
6) Chicago, Illinois. Over 20 percent of total power in Chicago is coming from renewable sources. Due to the increase in the need for renewable energy and energy efficiency, Chicago has been able to create numerous job opportunities while, at the same time, increasing solar power and saving on CO2 emissions. Chicago is also becoming one of the major investment locations for international businesses. Chicago also has a number of green initiatives, including the Chicago Green Office Challenge.

Kirshenbaum Law and Cherrytree Group LLC can help you structure your tax credit transaction. Let us guide you through the process of applying for and securing renewable energy tax credits. These transactions typically require a lawyer, a consultant, and a syndicator, and Cherrytree Group and Kirshenbaum law can act in all three capacities, saving you time and money on your transaction.

The original article was written by Shawn Lesser, and can be seen at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03 /28/idUS317857292020110328

Treasury Announces $3.5 Billion in Awards for Economic Development and Community Revitalization

Monday, March 07, 2011

... By Warren Kirshenbaum

Baltimore Area Institutions to Receive Over $155 Million in New Markets Tax Credit Awards

BALTIMORE, MD - In an effort to highlight the Obama Administration’s key investments in broad-based economic growth and commitment to the revitalization of communities stricken by the economic crisis, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund Director Donna Gambrell today visited a job training and human services organization in Baltimore benefiting from private sector investments made possible through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). Speaking alongside Representative Elijah Cummings, Director Gambrell announced the selection of 99 organizations nationwide to receive NMTC allocation awards under the 2010 program round. These 99 awards will leverage billions of dollars of investment into businesses and real estate projects to create jobs and promote growth in communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment.

“The New Markets Tax Credit continues to be a tool for job-creation and economic revitalization in areas that struggle to attract investment because of poverty, unemployment and a lack of opportunity” said Director Gambrell. “I am honored to announce the 2010 New Markets Tax Credit Award allocations with Representative Cummings here in Baltimore, where our partners have demonstrated why this tool has been so effective in making literally thousands of projects possible across the country and give Americans a chance to make a living, to start a business and to build a better future in areas that need it most.”

The NMTC, established by Congress in December 2000, permits individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making equity investments in investment vehicles known as Community Development Entities (CDEs). The credit provided to the investor totals 39 percent of the cost of the investment and is claimed over a seven-year period. CDEs must apply to the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) to compete for this allocation authority. The 99 organizations receiving awards were selected from a pool of 250 applicants that requested over $23.5 billion. They are headquartered in 27 different states and the District of Columbia; but have identified principal service areas that will cover nearly every state in the country, as well the District of Columbia.

“By helping our partners in community development secure critical funding for job-creating projects, the New Markets Tax Credit is helping to bring opportunity and drive investment in our local businesses and communities,” said Representative Cummings. “In these tough economic times Baltimore welcomes the support of the CDFI Fund, and we will continue working to ensure that we're reaching the hardest hit.”

Director Gambrell’s and Representative Cummings’ announcement was made today at Humanim Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides workforce development and rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment. An award winning human services organization, Humanim provides a ground-breaking model for delivering expanded employment services that gives those individuals in greatest need the opportunity to build a career and attain financial independence. Over $14 million in NMTC financing provided by City First Bank of DC and the National Trust Community Investment Corporation allowed Humanim to convert a large brewery that sat abandoned for 35 years in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Baltimore into its headquarters. Humanim reaches individuals of all ages with comprehensive vocational services.

Having benefitted from funding under the NMTC, Humanim highlights the effectiveness of the NMTC in leveraging private investment to complete economic and community development projects that help revitalize communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment. In total, five institutions in Maryland will receive funds in this NMTC award round to invest in development projects.

To date, over $20 billion of private-sector capital has been invested through the NMTC into urban and rural communities throughout the country, helping to create or retain hundreds of thousands of jobs and to provide low-income community residents with access to quality education, health care, job training, housing and critical retail services in their communities.

2010 NMTC Program Awards

2010 NMTC Program Award List
2010 NMTC Program Highlights
2010 NMTC Program Allocatee Profiles
2010 NMTC Program Award Booklet

A complete list of the 99 organizations selected and additional information on the NMTC Program can be found on the CDFI Fund’s web site at: http://www.cdfifund.gov.

Pittsburgh URA Awarded $35 Million in Development Tax Credits

Monday, February 28, 2011
Pittsburgh URA awarded $35 million in development tax credits

The U.S. Treasury Department has awarded Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority $35 million in tax credits to stimulate investment in low-income communities.

The URA was one of 99 applicants to receive the New Market Tax Credits; more than 250 government entities, nonprofits and other groups applied.

The tax credits will go to investors in "Community Development Entities," groups formed to undertake projects in low-income neighborhoods. The cedits are designed to draw private investment into those communities.

"This is great news for Pittsburgh," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement. "This award will leverage millions of dollars of investment into businesses and real estate projects to create jobs and promote growth in our neighborhoods."

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, supported the URA's application.

By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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