EPA Administrator visits Brownfields sites in Kalispell

KALISPELL — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler joined Montana Sen. Steve Daines on Friday for a tour of Brownfields grant sites in Kalispell.

“This is an example of how we work together with our communities and the EPA to restore, reclaim and redevelop lands that previously weren’t able to be used for anything that’s economically viable,” said Sen. Daines.

Administrator Wheeler and Senator Daines toured the Glacier Rail Park, the CHS-Agronomy Center and SunRift Brewery and Restaurant.

The EPA’s Brownfields Program provides direct funding for assessment, cleanup, environmental job training and more. Since 2010, Kalispell has received more than $2 million in Brownfields grants.

Wheeler says the grants help revitalize parts of Kalispell that were otherwise unusable. He says the return investments on these grants go a long way in restoring communities.

“Seventeen-to-one investment for every federal dollar we put into a community, and it creates jobs, and it creates places like this for people to congregate, enjoy themselves, have a beer. I couldn’t think of a better way of revitalizing a former contaminated land site,” said Wheeler.

The EPA estimates there are more than 450,000 Brownfields developments across the United States.