1Jennifer Hill, environmental scientist with bec environmental, inc., in Las Vegas reported to the County Commission Dec. 15 on the status of the Rural Desert Southwest Brownfields Coalition activities in Lincoln County as well as with other members of the coalition.

Commissioners heard about the draft final report for the 2011 US Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Coalition assessment grant, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding among Esmeralda, Mineral, Nye, and White Pine Counties, and Inyo County in California for the $600,000 U.S. EPA assessment grant last May to continue and expand program activities for the Rural Desert Southwest Brownfields Coalition.

Mineral County has just come in as a new member of the Coalition.

Hill said. “The goals and objectives that were identified during the grant application included protecting the health and welfare of the population, protecting the environment, promoting economic development in job creation, especially promoting economic job development and diversification, through water smart renewable energy, especially ones lactated on former Brownfields sites.”

The site in Lincoln County that Brownfields identified and addressed was small a multi-use building at Pahranagat Valley High School that was once a barracks at Nellis Air Force Base.

Hill said the building underwent a Phase I and Phase II site environment assessment and property cleanup reuse plan. A lead base paint and asbestos abatement plan was completed. “But,” she said, “further redevelopment of the building is on hold pending the availability of funding through the Lincoln County School District.”

She said they are working with Dr. Mike Baughman to identify other sites in the county and to identify ways to use those sites for indoor agriculture development and fro distribution generation projects in the county.

Qualifications of a location for an RDSBC evaluation is based on “real or perceived contamination,” Hill said. For example, if someone thinks there may have been an underground storage tank on the site, but is not sure. Then the coalition may go in and conduct an assessment. The EPA is also involved in approving the site for assessment.

Any site that is identified is also reported to the Board of County Commissioners for their understanding and input.