Quigley Announces Federal Grant to Aid Cleanup of Contaminated Cook County Sites
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) announced a $600,000 grant to Cook County from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help clean up contaminated areas in seven west suburban municipalities.
The funds will aid in the planning and remediation of scores of environmentally distressed sites in Bellwood, Franklin Park, Forest Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake and Schiller Park.
“This grant helps revitalize neighborhoods and address pressing environmental issues at underused spaces, while creating jobs and growing our local economies. It’s an important reminder that what’s good for the environment is also good for the community and for business,” said Rep. Quigley.
Rep. Quigley wrote a letter of support on behalf of the Cook County Department of Environmental Control, which submitted the grant application to the EPA on behalf of the coalition of villages in the western suburbs.
“This U.S. EPA grant is critically important in removing barriers to redevelopment and job growth in an area that is already strong on economic development fundamentals, such as transportation and a trained labor force,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Eradicating contaminants on Brownfield sites will increase the fiscal stability of our communities by allowing vacant properties to again contribute to the tax base. It will also help improve the health of residents who suffer from problems such as asthma. Cook County is proud to have received the largest Brownfields grant in Illinois this year, and this effort demonstrates the strength governments can have when they work together toward a common goal.”
“With the support of Congressman Mike Quigley, this grant will help turn a Brownfield site that has stood vacant for 20 years because of its environmental conditions into a usable industrial site and hopefully create factories or warehouses where local residents can work. We thank Congressman Quigley for his assistance and follow through,” said Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology identified at least 87 vacant, abandoned or underused sites in these seven communities. The EPA grant will help fund an environmental assessment of these sites, focusing on contamination stemming from bulk petroleum storage and other hazardous materials. The funding is distributed through the EPA Brownfields Program, which cleans up and reinvests in sites that are contaminated—or perceived to be so—and have limited redevelopment potential because of potential liability.
Rep. Quigley is a stalwart supporter of the environment and a member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). He has received one of the highest scores from the League of Conservation Voters for his record on environmental issues and has urged his colleagues in the House to put partisanship aside and craft America’s first national energy plan.