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

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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.

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Newark, NJ; Hamilton, OH; Jackson, TN win 2015 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement from U.S. EPA

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The City of Newark, NJ remediated the site of a former smelting plant to build a new—and now award-winning—park along the Passaic River. Photo via Archpaper.

Three cities have transformed the site of a former smelting plant, a neighborhood destroyed by tornado, and a near-empty historic downtown into vibrant, walkable places. Now, these projects have been recognized with the 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Riverfront Park is the culmination of decades-long work to transform five miles of formerly industrial Passaic riverfront in Newark, NJ. The park’s land was once home to a smelting plant, and sat abandoned and unusable for years. Environmental remediation and an intensive public engagement process have created what will ultimately be 19 acres of parkland and Newark’s first—and so far only—public access to the Passaic River. In this community of color and predominantly low-income area, with few green spaces and a history of industrial pollution, the new park is game-changing. “When I was growing up, we had very few places to play, very few parks,” said Ana Baptista, a Newark resident, in EPA’s video about the project. “My daughters are going to grow up having a relationship to the water and the river that I didn’t have.”

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House subcommittee hearing makes the case to reauthorize EPA Brownfields program

On Wednesday the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing to examine the many benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program. The program has been funded for the past several years but is not a formally authorized part of the federal budget. Wednesday’s hearing examined whether that should change.

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EPA accepting proposals for Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants

texaco-brownfieldThe Double Wide Grill in Pittsburgh, PA was built in a former gas station building with help from the EPA Brownfields Program. Photo by EPA Smart Growth via Flickr.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced three grant programs for 2015 to help clean up land contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

Brownfields Assessment Grants provide funding for developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfield sites. Individual grants go up to $200,000.

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Turning brownfields into healthfields in McComb, MS

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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.

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Southeastern San Diego to replace brownfields area with community's smart growth vision

Community members help plan the Village at Market Creek development. Image courtesy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.
Community members plan the Village at Market Creek development. Image courtesy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

After extensive planning and dozens of community meetings, the Village at Market Creek in San Diego, CA, is ready to break ground on the next phase of a visionary smart growth project.

For two decades, San Diego has been working to remediate and redevelop the former home of aerospace manufacturer Langley Corp. The company left San Diego in the 1990s, but leaking underground storage tanks and other potentially hazardous materials on the numerous factory sites remained. That meant the 60 acres were not only blighted, but potentially dangerous to redevelop.

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Details of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013, introduced today by Senators Lautenberg, Inhofe, Udall and Crapo, would improve the way the federal government supports brownfields redevelopment in the United States. Here’s how.

The Act reauthorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program, and improves the program’s ability to support local economic development. If passed, the bill would modernize and improve key elements of the program, and would provide additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields. It makes a number of improvements recommended by the National Brownfields Coalition, which is comprised of a broad set of stakeholders, including local governments, developers, and community redevelopment organizations.

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