In wake of Senate action, Representatives Pallone and Tonko introduce House version of Brownfields authorization bill

langermans
EPA Brownfields funds helped transform the site of a former tin manufacturing and can factory into a mixed-use office and retail hub in Canton, Baltimore, MD. Photo via EPA.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill to authorize and improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program. Now the House of Representatives is moving to do the same.

Last week Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Paul D. Tonko (NY-20) introduced the Brownfields Authorization Increase Act of 2016 (H.R. 5782). The legislation would amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to enhance EPA’s Brownfields program and include it as a formal part of the federal budget.

LOCUS

Senate passes bill to help communities redevelop brownfield sites, urges House of Representatives to do the same

quik-trip-greenvilleEPA Brownfields funds helped transform the site of a former auto body repair shop into a neighborhood market in an underserved community in Greenville, SC. Photo via.

With sweeping bipartisan support, last week the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation to help communities across the country clean up and redevelop contaminated land. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), one of the champions of the bill, urged his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to do the same.

Uncategorized

Senate EPW Committee votes to reauthorize EPA's Brownfields program

swamp-rabbit-trail2
The EPA Brownfields program helped to remediate a former railroad line in Greenville, SC. Today that line is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the backbone of an extensive pedestrian and bicycling trail system in the county. Photo via Flickr.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program has helped hundreds of communities clean up and redevelop vacant and contaminated land known as brownfields. The program has not been an official part of the federal budget for several years, however. Last week the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) voted to change that.

On May 18, the EPW Committee approved the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015 (BUILD Act), which would reauthorize the EPA Brownfields program through 2018. Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator Edward Markey introduced the Act on June 2, 2015. Last week the bill passed on voice vote without amendment.

LOCUS

Brownfields Tax Incentive Reauthorization Introduced

9163919168_a72f9c60b1_b
The redeveloped Merchandise Mart on Washington Avenue in St. Louis. Via Flickr

This week, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) introduced the Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Incentive Reauthorization Act of 2014, or H.R. 4542. The legislation would re-establish the brownfields tax incentive for five years through 2018. In a bipartisan show of support for the bill, Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) have signed on as cosponsors.

Originally signed into law in 1997 and extended through December 31, 2011, Section 198’s Brownfields Tax Incentive is a tax deduction intended to encourage the cleanup and revitalization of brownfield properties. Under the incentive, environmental cleanup costs are fully deductible in the year incurred, rather than capitalized and spread over time. Improvements in 2006 expanded the Incentive to include petroleum cleanup.

Uncategorized

Smart Growth America's coalition members gather for annual meeting

coalition-mtg_3-2014Dru Schmidt-Perkins of 1,000 Friends of Maryland (left) with Tyler Grote of Smart Growth America at last week’s meeting.

Last week, members of Smart Growth America’s non-profit coalition gathered in Washington, DC for the coalition’s annual meeting and advocacy day on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, coalition members and Smart Growth America staff discussed the new issues and progress made in each member’s region. Staff from Smart Growth America and Transportation for America briefed the members about progress on projects including the National Complete Streets Coalition, innovative transportation policies in Michigan and projects to improve community health in the transportation planning process.

Then member organizations presented about their achievements in the last year and discussed the challenges within each region. The Alliance to Re-Industrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) Minnesota’s Zachary Zweifler gave an insightful presentation on how they are designing projects to transform former industrial sites into mixed-use developments using non-traditional approaches. And Kaid Benfield, co-founder of Smart Growth America and the author of People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities, shared a few of the major points from his book, which discusses topics as wide-ranging as “green” housing developments that are no such thing, the tricky matter of gentrifying inner cities, why people don’t walk much anymore, and the relationship between cities and religion.

Complete Streets

Top 10 of 2013: Helping vacant land become neighborhood hubs through the BUILD Act of 2013

4570-miles

This month, we’re looking back at some of Smart Growth America’s brightest moments and greatest accomplishments from 2013. Today’s highlight? Our work to get thousands of square miles of brownfields sites cleaned up and redeveloped through a bill introduced in Congress this year.

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013 would help communities across the country clean up brownfields sites and get them back into productive use. Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ), Inhofe (R-OK), Crapo (R-ID) and Udall (D-NM) introduced the bill in March, and since then Senators Hirono, Merkley, Brown, Schatz, Whitehouse, Gillibrand and Levin have all signed on as additional cosponsors.

Uncategorized

Take Action: Help Valley, Alabama redevelop their textile mills

When the Langdale and Riverdale textile mills closed in the 1990’s, the residents of Valley, Alabama, not only lost a major employer. They lost part of their heritage.

For years the mills have stood as a reminder of what the town lost. Residents, however, saw potential for transforming the historic buildings into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. The City agreed—but industrial contamination stood in their way.

Now, a federal brownfields grant is helping Valley clean up the land and achieve their vision, and a bill in Congress could help towns like Valley achieve similar goals.

Uncategorized

Turning brownfields into healthfields in McComb, MS

McComb, MS hospital
A historic photo of the McComb City Hospital Building in McComb, MS. Photo via the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

One building in McComb, MS, could provide health care facilities for area residents and revitalize downtown at the same time. A federal brownfields grant is helping the small town achieve both these goals possible.

The McComb City Hospital building, originally constructed in 1911, was the area’s only hospital until the 1960’s and when the Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center was built in 1969, the McComb hospital closed. Through the late 1980’s the building was reused for a variety of purposes, none of which were able to generate long-term and sustainable use of the property.

Uncategorized