Barletta Votes to Reauthorize Brownfields Law
Nov 30, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1758, Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2017 by a bipartisan vote of 409 to 8. Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11), voted in support of the legislation.
“Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment is a critical tool to ensuring environmental safeguards are in place to revitalize hazardous waste areas,” Barletta said. “My hometown Hazleton has benefited greatly from smart growth ideas like this. We had an area on Pine St. which was blighted by old factory buildings. By bringing together state and local institutions with the private sector, my administration brought folks to the table to create something really fantastic for the town. I was proud when the Pine Street Neighborhood Revitalization project received the 2008 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.”
The Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes the funding for brownfields grants and state voluntary cleanup programs, commonly known as Brownfields Law, for fiscal years 2018 to 2022. The legislation also makes targeted changes to the Brownfields Law:
- Increases funding limits for direct remediation grants from $200,000 to $500,000, which will allow communities to do more cleanup using grant funds;
- Creates a new multipurpose grant for entities to conduct assessment and remediation activities at one or more brownfield sites in a proposed area;
- Expands eligibility for brownfields grants to certain nonprofit organizations;
- Expands grant eligibility to government entities that acquired brownfields property prior to the enactment of the Brownfields Law.
“Brownfields” usually refers to abandoned or closed commercial or industrial properties that may be contaminated because of their prior use. These sites often have significant redevelopment potential. Cleaning up and reinvesting in brownfields increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. As of May 1, 2017, the EPA Brownfields Program has assessed 26,722 sites and leveraged 124,760 jobs.