Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Environment and Public Works Committee
March 8, 2001
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
As we know, Brownfields are an ongoing concern in this country and specifically in my home state of Colorado. So far, this program has been very successful in its goal of revitalizing abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities.
While these areas pose a low public health risk, they are often avoided by developers because of cleanup costs and potential liability. This designation has expanded as Superfund has, for the most part, already cleaned up the worst hazardous waste sites in the nation.
The Brownfields program is instrumental in achieving the goal of cleaning up these less-hazardous areas by relieving the liability burdens on contiguous property owners, prospective purchasers, and innocent landowners. This is of increasing importance as cities expand into these former industrial areas. My home state of Colorado is home to Denver's Jefferson County, currently the third-largest growing in the nation. It is vital that we make these lands usable by reducing potential health-risks to our citizens.
In fact, the city of Denver was recently named a Brownfield Showcase Community. These Brownfield Showcase Communities have three main goals:
1. To promote environmental protection, economic redevelopment, and community revitalization through the assessment, cleanup, and sustainable reuse of Brownfields.
2. To link Federal, State, local and non-governmental action supporting community efforts to restore and reuse Brownfields.
3. To develop national models demonstrating the positive results of public and private collaboration addressing Brownfield challenges.
I look forward to working with my colleague, Senator Levin, on this bill (S.1079), which addresses issues affecting our nation's communities and seeks to aid their efforts to revamp abandoned Brownfield sites by providing new incentives and needed reform to expedite the process of mending these properties, especially since Denver has an estimated 100 Brownfield sites.
Now that there is a new administration and a fresh outlook on our environment and natural resources, I look forward to working with all of the interested parties to form a consensus on this issue.
It is of great importance that we provide the necessary relief to the many cities faced with the cleanup of Brownfields, and empower states to assist in shepherding the cleanup effort.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.