April 04, 2014

EPW Committee Moves Successful Brownfields Program Legislation Forward

Measure provides Idaho communities increased opportunity for redevelopment and revitalization

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo commended the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for unanimously passing S. 491, the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development Act, out of committee.  The successful program has a proven track record of helping Idaho communities rehabilitate abandoned and polluted properties throughout the state, increasing safety, attracting new business and creating jobs.  Crapo, Ranking Member on the Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the program, is an original co-sponsor of the legislation which seeks to expand access to the program through the improvement of the existing grant process.

"With the assistance provided through the Brownfields program, many communities throughout Idaho have successfully been able to revitalize underutilized and contaminated sites, enabling redevelopment for businesses, parks and residential areas," said Crapo.  "This legislation improves the already successful and effective program by increasing access for rural and small communities and providing much-needed certainty for long-term projects.  As we move forward, I am encouraged by the strong bipartisan support for the measure, and will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to strengthen the program."

"The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields program is helping Moscow's residents to safely reuse formerly contaminated properties, promote economic development and improve the quality of life for future generations," said Jeff Jones, Economic Development Specialist for the City of Moscow.  "While brownfield properties are more complex to develop than traditional greenfield properties (properties which have never been previously developed), the benefits of redevelopment far outweigh the costs, and we are very appreciative of Senator Crapo's efforts to retain and strengthen the program."

Crapo is joined on the legislation by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Brian Shatz (D-Hawaii), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development Act:

  • Improves the existing grant process by increasing the limit for cleanup grants and expanding grant eligibility for certain publicly owned sites and non-profit organizations.
  • Authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make multi-purpose grants, which provide greater certainty for long-term projects.
  • Identifies opportunities for waterfront properties and Brownsfields sites appropriate for clean energy development.
  • Allows grant recipients to collect administrative costs.
  • Provides technical assistance to small, rural and disadvantaged communities.

The bill now moves out of Committee and will be scheduled for a vote by the full Senate at a later time.