Senators Praise Passage of Brownfields Reauthorization Amendment to Senate Energy Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, along with Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), today praised the passage of amendment 2991 to the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, S. 2012. This bipartisan amendment would reauthorize the EPA Brownfields program through 2018 and was first introduced as S. 1479, the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015 (BUILD Act).  

"With the passage of this amendment, we are one step closer toward fulfilling my goal of reauthorizing the Brownfields program,” Inhofe said. "I would especially like to thank Senators Markey and Booker for their support and for cosponsoring this bipartisan amendment. The passage by voice vote shows the depth of bipartisan support for the Brownfields program in the Senate.  The Brownfields program has helped create jobs and promoted economic development across the country, and this reauthorization will make an already successful program even better.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to see this reauthorization enacted into law."

"There is bipartisan support for cleaning up the decades of abuse our lands have experienced at the hands of corporate polluters,” Markey said. “Cleaning up Brownfield sites is a win-win, helping to create jobs and spur economic activity while revitalizing underutilized and polluted lands. I thank Chairman Inhofe for partnering on this amendment, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of my colleagues to see this economic solution implemented.” 

“Both during my time as mayor and as senator, I have seen firsthand how the Brownfields program helps revitalize communities across the state of New Jersey,” Booker said. “I am proud that our bipartisan amendment to expand the eligibility and scope of this vital program has advanced and will now be included in the larger energy bill. Together we can and must restore the estimated 450,000 brownfield sites nationwide to productive uses.”

The BUILD Act was introduced in the 114th Congress by Inhofe on June 2 and is cosponsored by Markey, Booker, EPW Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). S. 1479, as well as the amendment, would also make several enhancements to the program, including (1) prioritizing technical assistance grants for Brownfields projects in small communities, Indian tribes, rural areas, and disadvantaged areas, (2) establishing a program to provide grants to locate clean energy projects at Brownfields sites, and (3) expanding funding eligibility for governmental entities that did not cause or contribute to the contamination.  

A similar version of the BUILD Act was introduced by the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), along with Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Inhofe, and Crapo in the 113th Congress and was reported by the EPW committee by voice vote on April 3, 2014.