Authorization of Federal Bronwnfields Program Moves Forward in Congress
Kira Hibbert reports that the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3017, the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017, on November 30. The bill would extend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's brownfield program, which provides funding to clean up and restore contaminated sites.
According to Hibbert H.R. 3017 improves the brownfields program by:
- Funding the program at an annual level of $200 million through fiscal 2022.
- Expanding brownfield grant eligibility to nonprofit groups and partnerships, such as community development organizations.
- Allowing the EPA to award multi-purpose grants of as much as $1 million to cover different activities or remediation at more than one site, and
- Increasing the maximum amount for other grants to $500,000 per site, from $200,000 with a new cap as large as $750,000 per site.
The House version of the bill has competition from the Senate's version—the latter would set aside less money for the brownfields program. "The House and Senate are expected to negotiate the final FY 2018 appropriations bill by the end of the year," according to Hibbert.
Hibbert writes to express support for H.R. 3017 from Smart Growth America, LOCUS, and the National Brownfields Coalition. TheU.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and the National Association of Regional Councils also support the bill. The website for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House also collected statements from committee members in response to the adoption of the bill.