A bill co-authored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) to reauthorize and upgrade the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program is on its way to a House of Representatives floor vote after clearing the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The Brownfields Reauthorization Act, which Esty authored with Rep. John Katko (R-NY), is designed to help communities ignite economic development through brownfields assessment and remediation. The program was originally authorized in 2002 with a 2006 expiration, but was kept active through continued funding over the last 11 years.
The new bill reauthorizes the program through fiscal year 2022 at a rate of $200 million per year, with an additional $50 million annually to states for their brownfields cleanup programs. It also boosts the federal cleanup grant amount from $200,000 to $600,000 while expanding eligibility requirements for participating entities.
“Cities and towns across Connecticut have hundreds of acres of abandoned industrial sites that are just waiting to be cleaned up and put back onto the tax rolls,” Esty said in a press statement. “Passing the Brownfields Reauthorization Act will help our communities turn these blighted properties into real assets – with new businesses and open space. In fact, cleaning up brownfields is the ultimate recycling – recycling of land. Every acre of brownfields redevelopment creates approximately 10 jobs, so cleaning up and repurposing these sites is truly one of the best investments we can make.”
The bill has the backing of several national real estate-focused trade groups, including the International Council of Shopping Centers, Leading Builders of America, NAIOP – Commercial Real Estate Development Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Realtors and National Multifamily Housing Council.