Next month the U.S. Congress will take up legislation to reauthorize what has proven by all measures to be one of the most successful environmental and economic development programs in our nation’s history, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program.
To date, this program has led to the assessment of more than 26,000 polluted and contaminated brownfield sites, with more than 5,700 of them, totaling more than 66,000 acres, made ready for reuse. The EPA estimates the program has created more than 123,000 jobs and attracted over $23.6 billion in investment—a $16-for-$1 return on tax dollars spent.
H.R. 3017, the “Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017,” will, if enacted, extend and strengthen the program in many important ways:
EPA Brownfields funds are critical to promoting the redevelopment of impaired sites, increasing communities’ tax base and jobs base, promoting utilization of existing infrastructure, and removing contaminants to protect human health and the environment. Here at TRC, through our team’s work on more than 100 projects, we have seen firsthand how a single site that wins just a few thousand EPA Assessment Brownfields dollars can be transformed into a legacy community icon, and how reviving a portfolio of sites can infuse millions of leveraged dollars and lead the rebirth of a downtown. The 2017 EPA Brownfields Reauthorization Act promises to accelerate this tremendous progress all across our country.