The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a $300,000 grant to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). The money goes to the Division of Land Restoration. It will be used to perform assessments of land in the Meadow River Valley area in Western Greenbrier County. The DEP is specifically focusing on the areas around Rupert and Rainelle. They are looking for petroleum and hazardous substances in the areas impacted by the 2016 floods.
“With recovery efforts still ongoing after the devastating June 2016 flooding event, this vital grant will allow the flood impacted communities of West Virginia to create long term community resiliency plans and then identify, prioritize and assess brownfield properties on which to rebuild homes, businesses, schools, and community centers,” said the Director of the Division of Land Restoration, Patty Hickman. “The State of West Virginia and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection embrace this opportunity to rebuild strategically, design resilient and sustainable communities, restore and enhance quality of life and ultimately protect future generations from repeat devastation.”
The WVDEP is working with local partners to identify sites for assessment and redevelopment. Those partners include, but are not limited to, the Greater Greenbrier Long-Term Recovery Committee, Inc., the Rainelle Community Development Corporation, Rainelle Medical Center, the Towns of Rainelle and Rupert, the West Virginia National Guard and Workforce West Virginia.
“This funding will help our state revitalize properties and boost our economy to foster sustainable growth and entrepreneurship across West Virginia,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
“Investing in projects such as these not only improves the quality of life for West Virginians by cleaning up abandoned sites, but they can also lead to job opportunities,” added U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). “i am glad to see this funding headed to communities that need it most and look forward to the revitalization to come.”
Five other entities in West Virginia also received grants from the EPA. In total, the Mountain State was awarded $1.6 million.