Environmental agency to help revitalise US cities hit by auto industry restructuring

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on a new mission to revitalise cities affected by the recent restructuring of the US auto industry by providing resources and information that would help these cities and towns rebuild and move forward as sustainable and economically vibrant communities.

The programme, presented in a report titled the Roadmap for Auto Community Revitalisation, highlights case studies of auto towns as well as sources of funding and technical assistance currently available to communities with historical ties to the automotive industry, or auto communities.

''Automotive sites are assets to recapture jobs, foster economic revitalisation and pave the way to a more prosperous future for local communities,'' said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's office of solid waste and emergency response.

''The case studies and success stories show strategies for cleaning and redeveloping these sites that could inspire communities across the nation to take on these challenges and revitalise their auto brownfields sites,'' Stanislaus added.

''The road to recovery for automotive communities is filled with challenges, but with those challenges come opportunities, noted Jay Williams, executive director of the labour department's office of recovery for automotive communities and workers. The Roadmap for Auto Community Revitalisation serves as a toolbox and addendum to the progress already being accomplished by the Obama administration, he added.

The revitalisation programmes are led by the mayors, city managers, economic development directors and other elected and appointed officials who are driving auto community revitalisation at the local level, EPA said in its release.

The brownfields and land revitalisation programmes have been providing steady support to auto communities in their revitalisation efforts, EPA said.

Under the brownfields programme, EPA makes investments to help promote environmental health, leverage redevelopment and economic growth, and help generate job creation.

Since its inception, EPA said its brownfields investments have leveraged more than $20 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. With federal funding support, EPA's investments have been able to leverage more than 90,000 jobs from both public and private sources, it said.

''Cities such as Flint have faced the challenges from the restructuring of the auto industry, but we are coming back. With continued investment in auto communities, robust partnerships, and a focus on emerging sectors of economic innovation, we can keep America going strong on the road to revitalisation,'' Dayne Walling, mayor of Flint, Michigun, and chairman of the Manufacturing Alliance of Communities, commented.

The programme was developed in partnership with the labour department and the Manufacturing Alliance of Communities.