WASHINGTON -- The Senate this week approved legislation that calls on the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to promote the redevelopment of brownfields, which are environmentally-contaminated, abandoned industrial and commercial properties. The bill, which was introduced earlier this year by Senate Smart Growth co-chairmen Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., was included in the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Reauthorization Act of 2004. The House of Representatives passed the identical bill Thursday and it now goes to the President for signature. "Investing in brownfields encourages the redevelopment of old industrial sites in our cities and towns, thereby creating jobs, restoring lost tax revenue, and preserving open green spaces," said Jeffords, who is the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and co-author of the legislation. "Brownfields redevelopment helps to create jobs, encourage economic stability, and improve public health in communities," Levin said. "The Bush Administration has unfortunately made brownfields redevelopment a low priority, and we're hopeful that this legislation will help to put brownfields redevelopment back on track." The Jeffords-Levin provision bolsters EDA's role in the economic redevelopment of brownfield sites by promoting the productive reuse of abandoned industrial facilities and establishing the redevelopment of brownfields as a priority activity for EDA. During the Clinton Administration, EDA made brownfields redevelopment a funding priority for the agency, recognizing that job creation at these sites improved the economic stability and public health of a community. The Bush Administration, however, removed brownfields as a funding priority, which resulted in less EDA funding for these important activities. Over the past four years, EDA's financial commitment to brownfields has fallen almost 60%from $70 million in 2000 to only $29 million in 2003. The brownfields language in the EDA reauthorization bill is a step toward ensuring an adequate level of funding for brownfield redevelopment activities. Economic development funding for brownfields is important because these sites pose both economic and environmental challenges. Local communities and states need resources not only to assess and remediate environmental contamination, which is Environmental Protection Agency's responsibility and jurisdiction, but also to redevelop brownfields. The EDA bill's brownfields language complements the 2002 Environmental Protection Agency brownfields cleanup legislation: once a contaminated site is cleaned up, this bill encourages EDA to make the economic redevelopment of the site a priority. Together, these two programs will provide communities with the financial assistance needed to leverage private investment in brownfields and accelerate their reuse.