WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted to advance the Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2023 by a voice vote. The legislation, introduced by EPW Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), would reauthorize the Brownfields program through fiscal year 2029 and make the program more accessible to small and disadvantaged communities.
“For years, EPA’s Brownfields program has turned the adversity of industrial contamination into economic opportunity for communities across our nation, including in Delaware,” said Chairman Carper. “The Brownfields Reauthorization Act would help more communities benefit from this successful program, and I thank Senator Capito, as well as our EPW Committee colleagues, for their work to advance this bipartisan legislation.”
“The Brownfields program has created success story after success story in communities across the United States, including West Virginia. The Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2023 would further support these public-private partnerships that are critical for the economic redevelopment of legacy industrial sites. From an environmental and economic standpoint, Brownfield grants have benefitted both urban and rural areas, and I’m thrilled the EPW Committee continued our track record of bipartisan solutions by advancing this important legislation today,” said Ranking Member Capito.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Brownfields decrease property values, depress economic activity, foster increased crime, and present ongoing environmental and public health risks to nearby communities.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields program has provided grants and technical assistance to assist communities in assessing and cleaning up contaminated sites. In doing so, the program has helped repurpose brownfields for productive commercial and civil use. Redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.
Many small and disadvantaged communities, however, are effectively barred from participating in the program due to a lack of financial resources and administrative capacity needed to meet the program’s strenuous statutory requirements. The Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2023 would make the program more accessible by reducing financial barriers to participation and encouraging greater community participation in decision-making processes.
A section-by-section is available here.
A fact sheet is available here.