EPA Announces USTfield Initiative
On November 2, 2000, EPA announced a new grant program to help communities clean up abandoned underground petroleum tanks, called the USTfield Initiative. Since petroleum contamination generally is excluded from cleanup under EPA's Superfund and Brownfields programs (due to the petroleum exemption under CERCLA), there has been a delay in the cleanup and redevelopment of many properties containing these tanks. The USTfields Initiative is designed to address this deficiency.
With announcement of the Initiative, EPA also announced grants to ten communities, including Trenton, New Jersey, targeted to receive $100,000 each for assessment and cleanup of abandoned tanks. EPA plans to select 40 more pilot projects in 2001. In awarding the grants, EPA is placing special emphasis on cities experiencing problems related to contamination by MTBE, a fuel additive. A Blue Ribbon Panel assembled by EPA has determined that MTBE poses special risks to groundwater. These pilot projects are intended to supplement existing EPA cleanup and redevelopment pilot projects, such as Brownfields assessments.