Washington (April 5, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), members of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act (BUILD Act) (S.822). Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mike Crapo (R-Id.) are original cosponsors of the BUILD Act.
The Brownfields program, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and enjoys strong bipartisan support, provides grants and technical assistance to states, local governments, tribes, and redevelopment agencies to support the assessment, cleanup, and reuse of Brownfield sites. Among other things, the BUILD Act would provide funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas, expand the scope of eligible grant recipients to include non-profit community groups, and authorize funding for multi-purpose grants to tackle more complex sites.
“Improving Brownfields utilization is a bipartisan legislative bright spot, and the BUILD Act is critical to cleaning up the decades of abuse our lands have experienced at the hands of corporate polluters,” said Senator Markey. “Cleaning up Brownfield sites is a win-win for Massachusetts and the country, helping to create jobs and spur economic activity while revitalizing underutilized and polluted lands. I look forward to working with Senator Inhofe and all of my colleagues to ensure that these Brownfield sites will no longer be part of the problem, but a part of our economic solution.”
“The Brownfields program has been very successful in promoting economic development in our local communities and across the country by cleaning up contaminated sites,” said Senator Inhofe. “Whether it’s Bricktown in Oklahoma City or the new ballpark in Tulsa, Brownfields has been very good to us in Oklahoma. I am proud to work together with a friend across the aisle, Sen. Markey, in reauthorizing and improving this effective program by directing more resources to rural towns and communities and allowing for further coordination throughout government agencies. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation.”
“The Brownfields program has long enjoyed strong, bipartisan support because it makes good sense,” said Senator Carper. “As we have seen clearly in Wilmington, Delaware, where the Brownfields program helped revitalize our riverfront, not only does the cleanup of Brownfield sites reduce risks to public health, but it also breathes new life into formerly degraded areas, while creating jobs and spurring economic growth. With more than 450,000 Brownfield sites across the country, we have our work cut out for us, and given President Trump’s devastating proposed cuts to toxic site cleanup programs, its reauthorization is now more important than ever. The BUILD Act will help ensure that communities across the country have the tools they need to clean up contaminated sites and make our environment healthier and more productive.”
“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,” said Senator Rounds. “Reauthorization of the program will allow state and local governments to clean up polluted areas so they are once again safe for use.”
“As the former Mayor of Newark, I saw the potential of the EPA’s Brownfields program to help revitalize communities,” said Senator Booker. “Expanding the eligibility and scope of the Brownfields program to support cleanup and development efforts in more communities across New Jersey and the country is a commonsense step forward. This bipartisan legislation is critical to restoring the estimated 450,000 brownfield sites nationwide to productive uses.”
“Reauthorization of the Brownfields program has broad support from Idaho cities and counties across Idaho,” said Senator Crapo. “There are numerous Brownfield-eligible sites in virtually every county of Idaho. This legislation would increase access to the Brownfields grant programs for rural communities to improve the quality of our land and water.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Highlights of the BUILD Act: