WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarding three separate grants for Brownfield sites in Wyoming. The three grants include:
- A community-wide grant of $300,000 to Douglas, WY;
- A community-wide grant of $800,000 to the Wyoming Business Council, Sheridan County, Green River, WY, and Laramie, WY; and
- A grant of $325,000 to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for the assessment of the former Acme Power Plant in Sheridan County.
“These EPA grants are a victory for the environment, public health, and economy of Wyoming,” said Barrasso. “They will allow Wyoming communities to assess, clean up, and reuse identified sites. The EPA Brownfields program is a great example of Washington working with local communities to address pollution and to find new uses for long-abandoned sites.”
The Brownfields program, which is administered by the EPA and has strong bipartisan support, provides grants and technical assistance to states, local governments, tribes and redevelopment agencies to support the assessment, cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites.
On March 22, 2018, Congress passed legislation to reauthorize and enhance the EPA’s Brownfields program. The legislation provided liability relief for state and local governments that acquire these contaminated properties for cleanup and re-use. It also provides liability relief for Alaska Native villages or Alaska Native Corporations that received contaminated land from the federal government under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
The legislation also provides funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas, expands the scope of eligible grant recipients to include non-profit organizations, and authorizes funding for multi-purpose grants to tackle more complex sites. President Trump outlined improvements to the Brownfield program as a key priority of his infrastructure proposal. Cleanup of polluted sites will spur needed infrastructure development.
Bipartisan efforts to reauthorize the program have been ongoing since 2006. This Congress, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act with several bipartisan cosponsors.
On July 12, 2017, the EPW committee passed S. 822, the BUILD Act, with Chairman Barrasso’s substitute amendment. The bill passed the committee unanimously by voice vote.