Fifth Annual Northwest Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Forum Held in Panama City

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Fifth Annual Northwest Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Forum Held in Panama City

~Forum educates participants on the economic and environmental benefits of brownfield redevelopment~


L to R: Shawn Hamilton, director of DEP's Northwest District; John Truitt, DEP deputy secretary for regulatory programs, Chris Rietow, director of Apalachee Regional Planning Council, and Austin Mount, director of West Florida Regional Planning Council.

PANAMA CITY, Fla.   The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the West Florida and Apalachee Regional Planning Councils partnered for the fifth consecutive year to host the annual Northwest Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Forum. Nearly 100 representatives from local government, and engineering and environmental consulting firms joined state and federal experts to learn about the benefits of brownfields redevelopment as well as available assistance.

The forum included discussions of local success stories and review of recent updates to Florida laws governing brownfields. Additionally, private and public sector leaders shared their hands-on experience during panel discussions on the technical aspects, funding mechanisms and incentives of the Brownfields Program.

“It is a priority for DEP to focus taxpayer resources on projects that provide a direct benefit to the environment and our local communities, and the Brownfields Redevelopment Program is one way we are accomplishing this,” said John Truitt, DEP deputy secretary for regulatory programs. “Utilizing these incentives, our local communities can redevelop unused properties to meet local needs." 

Through economic and regulatory incentives, the Brownfields Redevelopment Program encourages the restoration and redevelopment of contaminated sites, which helps create new jobs and boost the local economy. For the program's incentives to be available to a community, a local government must designate a brownfields area by resolution.

As of August 2016, the cleanup of 89 formerly contaminated sites has created more than 65,000 confirmed and projected direct and indirect jobs and $2.7 billion has been invested in designated brownfield areas.

Active participation in the program is at an all-time high. In 2016 alone, there were 28 designated brownfield areas in Florida, up from 17 in 2015 and 39 Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreements executed, up from 27 in 2015.

Five Florida communities were recently awarded EPA Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup grants and four of those communities are in Northwest Florida. The grants will help these communities, local governments and other stakeholders as they work together to assess, clean up and reuse properties that may otherwise sit idle.  

See the 2016 Florida Brownfield Redevelopment Program Annual Report for more information.