WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee; Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight; Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulator Oversight; Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Senate EPW Committee; and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today praised the Senate passage by unanimous consent of S.1479, the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015 (BUILD Act).
“Reauthorizing the Brownfields program has been a key priority of mine as Chairman of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and now we are one step closer to enacting this legislation into law and reforming the program to make several overdue improvements,” Inhofe said. “In my home state of Oklahoma, we have seen firsthand the benefits of the Brownfields program to revive abandoned, contaminated buildings and turn these proprieties into economic contributors to the community as well as job creators for the state. With the bipartisan BUILD Act, we sought to expand the benefits of the Brownfields program to also support small and rural communities as well as Indian tribes. I urge my colleague in the House of Representatives to swiftly move to pass the BUILD Act and add another accomplishment of a Republican-led Congress working to improve our environment while expanding economic opportunity for all.”
“A number of South Dakota communities have benefited from the Brownfields program, which provides federal funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas,” Rounds said. “Reauthorization of the program will allow state and local governments to clean up polluted areas so they are once again safe for use. I’m pleased the BUILD Act passed the Senate and look forward to seeing it enacted in the near future.”
“I am pleased the BUILD Act has passed the Senate, because it will help revitalize communities with contaminated waste sites,” Boxer said. “Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, and allows re-development of formerly contaminated lands.”
“Today marks an encouraging step forward in our bipartisan efforts to restore the estimated 450,000 brownfield sites in New Jersey and across the country to productive uses. The Brownfields program helps revitalize communities and ignite economic development across the state of New Jersey, and it is vital that the House of Representatives now move to swiftly support this bill's passage,” Booker said.
On June 2, 2015, Inhofe and Markey led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing S. 1479, the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development Act (BUILD Act). The legislation would make several enhancements to the program, including (1) prioritizing technical assistance grants for Brownfields projects in small communities, Indian tribes, rural areas, and disadvantaged areas, (2) establishing a program to provide grants to locate clean energy projects at Brownfields sites, and (3) expanding funding eligibility for governmental entities that did not cause or contribute to the contamination.
On Feb. 2, the BUILD Act was adopted as an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S.2012), which passed the Senate on April 20 and is currently being conferenced with the House.
On May 18, the BUILD Act was reported out of the EPW Committee by voice vote.
A similar version of the BUILD Act was introduced by the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), along with Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Inhofe, and Crapo in the 113th Congress and was reported by the EPW committee by voice vote on April 3, 2014.