June 29, 2023

Rep. Watson Coleman, EPA Regional Administrator Garcia, NJDEP Commissioner LaTaurette, Mayor Gusciora Announce $2 Million Grant to Clean Up New Methods Cleaners Brownfields Site

Trenton, NJ (June 29, 2023) – Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Trenton, New Jersey will get nearly $2 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to clean up a former industrial site in Trenton, New Jersey while advancing environmental justice. This award is part of the largest ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs, thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The City of Trenton will use the $1.99 million to clean up the former New Method Cleaners site. In its over a century history, the site has been used for many industrial and commercial purposes. Most recently, a dry-cleaning business occupied the site. In 2013, EPA, in close partnership with the city and state, removed drums containing hazardous materials and conducted an investigation at the site under the Superfund removal program. While that removal work helped address some of the immediate risks posed by the site, there are still volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the soil and groundwater, which have prevented its use. Since 2015, the site has been vacant. The money announced today will allow Trenton to clean up the site in a process that will also include input from the community.

Standing with partners in front of the site, EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia said, “What we see here today as a long-time vacant abandoned building will soon be a transformative community space—that’s environmental justice in action. This will make a real difference for people in Trenton.” 

"With this nearly $2 million grant, we’re increasing by a whopping 50 percent the total amount of brownfields funding Trenton has ever received,” she continued. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has dramatically increased our ability to advance brownfields cleanups with big impacts in Trenton and other communities in the region.”

"As New Jersey's sole member of the Appropriations Committee, I'm glad I could help bring home the necessary resources to help restore environmental health to our Capital city,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “I'm grateful for President Biden's leadership through the Investing in America Agenda and its key provision of environmental justice. Rebuilding American infrastructure must include efforts like this to renew environmental health. Every American deserves to live in a safe and healthy community and partnerships between the EPA, the NJDEP, and local leaders like Mayor Gusciora will help deliver an environmentally healthy future." 

“I applaud this announcement that the City of Trenton will receive $2 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up the New Method Cleaners site, and I am proud to have helped secure the support and funding necessary to ensure this brownfield site is reclaimed and restored for Trenton’s residents,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “Historic investments like these are critical to delivering environmental justice for underserved communities and communities of color, and they help address the economic, social, and environmental challenges they face every day.” 

“Communities across New Jersey, especially those with Black, Brown, and low-income populations, are harmed by contaminants, breathe in dirty air, and lack access to clean water,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to vote for, communities are finally receiving the federal resources needed to rectify these environmental injustices. This federal funding will clean up this long-contaminated site and promote environmental and public health for Trenton residents.”

“Made possible by the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this enhanced funding to rehabilitate the New Method Cleaners site is an investment in the future of Trenton,” NJDEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said. “For too long, financial barriers have prevented cities such as Trenton, which have been historically overburdened by pollution and contamination, from transforming brownfields into sites of economic revitalization and, ultimately, commerce. I commend the Biden Administration, U.S. Rep. Watson Coleman, EPA Regional Administrator Garcia, Mayor Gusciora, and Urban Promise Trenton for their dedication in making the cleanup of this property a priority, ensuring that environmental justice is served in New Jersey.”

“This month, we received approval from the Trenton City Council to demolish this brownfields site. We are so thankful to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Biden Administration for grant funding that will be utilized for the environmental remediation of this site,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora. “I am proud that we now have federal support that will breathe new life into this neighborhood, and, on behalf of the Capital City, we are so thankful for the EPA’s leadership and collaboration.”

This investment is part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization, and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.

EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of its work. Approximately 84 percent of the MARC program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.

For more on Brownfields Grants

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program.