EL CERRITO — The federal government is spending about $517 million in stimulus dollars to shore up the economy and create green jobs in California, a top Environmental Protection Agency official said Tuesday.

Jared Blumenfeld, administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region, made the announcement while touring a rain garden in El Cerrito that got stimulus funds to plant landscaping that removes chemicals from stormwater runoff that flows into the San Francisco Bay.

Other major EPA projects in California have used stimulus funds to clean up toxic waste sites and leaking petroleum storage tanks, as well as reduce air pollution from diesel engines, Blumenfeld said.

"There is still a huge gap between what needs to be done and the money that exists to do it," he said. "But this is a critical piece."

The bulk of the agency's stimulus money was sent to the California State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Public Health, which together got $439 million to finance upgrades of drinking water infrastructure and fund water quality protection projects.

Other agency projects include a partnership with the California State Water Resources Control Board to spend more than $15 million to clean up underground storage tank petroleum leaks.

More than $25 million is being allotted to replace and retrofit engines in buses, heavy-duty trucks, locomotives and tractors in Los Angeles, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, San Diego, the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay area, officials said.

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