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EPA Awards $1 Million in Grants to Southland Communities Including Brea, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Carson, Pico Rivera

   LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced
today that $1 million has been awarded to Southland communities to assess and
clean historically contaminated properties, known as brownfields.
   According to the EPA, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control
will receive $400,000 of the award for work in Los Angeles County, and the city
of Brea will receive $600,000 in community-wide cleanup grants.
   ``EPA is committed to helping communities strengthen their local economy
and neighborhoods by cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial
properties -- places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are needed
most,'' said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific
Southwest. ``These funds will help Southern California meet its goal of
creating jobs and increasing economic competitiveness, while improving quality
of life and protecting the environment.''
   The grant awarded to DTSC will focus on Southern California's I-710
corridor, a 23-mile freeway that leads to the ports of Long Beach and Los
Angeles and is home to one of the state's largest concentrations of refineries
and rail yards.
   About 1 million people -- including 90 percent minority and low-income
communities -- are impacted by industrial activities and goods movement through
this corridor, according to the EPA.
   DTSC will assess more than 30 sites in the communities of Willowbrook,
Compton, Pico Rivera and Carson to determine what is necessary for cleanup and
reuse. UC Irvine will assist DTSC in implementing planning and community
engagement activities, the EPA said.
   Brea's grant will be used to transform an abandoned Union Pacific
railroad right-of-way into the Tracks at Brea, a four-mile corridor of open
space, walking and bike trails with connections to downtown, schools, senior
and community centers, city parks, shopping and numerous employers, according
to the EPA.
   The 50-acre community green space and multi-use trail for pedestrians
and bicyclists will offer alternative transportation between neighborhoods
while helping address contamination caused by over 100 years of railroad
activity, the agency said.