WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 3017, the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 by a vote of 409-8. H.R. 3017 was spearheaded by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV) and unanimously passed the committee in June.
Brownfields sites are often abandoned, closed or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities. Examples of these include abandoned factories, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry-cleaning establishment or gas station. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields across the United States and each of these sites has the potential to encourage economic development in the local community. In fact, the City of Houston built Minute Maid Park – home to the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros – on a 38-acre former brownfield site.
H.R. 3017 seeks to reauthorize and make improvements to EPA’s Brownfields Program while encouraging EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, create jobs, and provide for economic development.
Rep. McKinley commented, “Abandoned industrial sites are an eyesore to the community and are detrimental to economic development. For those sites that qualify under this program, this bill will speed up our ability to mitigate the environmental hazards present. With 200 of these sites in West Virginia, this bill will enable us to revitalize these properties throughout the Mountain State.”
Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stated, “My home state of Oregon has a very active Brownfields Program and we’ve seen some great success in my district. Last year in The Dalles, Google broke ground on an expansion to their data center on 26 acres of former mill land that was cleaned up under this program – a $600 million investment expected to create 50 new jobs. In my hometown of Hood River, the Port of Hood River just finished a Brownfields cleanup of another former mill site, opening over 12 acres of land for future business opportunities in the area.”
“The Brownfields Program on average, leverages over $16 in private investment for every federal dollar spent and leverages 8.5 jobs for every $100,000 of brownfields funds expended on assessment and cleanup,” concluded #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL). “The Brownfields Program is a proven, results-driven program that has changed the way contaminated property is perceived, addressed, and managed. The EPA Brownfields Program is uniquely positioned to protect the environment and spur the economy. You can tell that from the broad bipartisan support H.R. 3017 enjoys.”