WASHINGTON, DC – Today, #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV) participated in the National Brownfields Leadership Summit hosted by the Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) where he discussed the importance of Congress reauthorizing and reforming the Brownfields Program for the first time since 2006.
Earlier this year, Rep. McKinley led the fight in Congress to reauthorize and expand the Brownfields Program. Compromise text of his legislation, the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017, was signed into law as part of the March 2018 omnibus package. Brownfields sites are often abandoned, closed, or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities, such as an abandoned factory or a former dry-cleaning establishment.
Rep. McKinley speaking at the National Brownfields Leadership Summit
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields across the United States and the Brownfields Program has been an incredibly important tool for states and local communities as they try to address these contaminated properties and return them to productive use.
At the summit, Rep. McKinley told the audience, “Cleaning up an abandoned site and converting to productive use can completely change a community.”
It’s not just the environmental benefits the program provides – it creates countless jobs and boosts the economy of local communities. According to the EPA, the Brownfields Program has leveraged over $26 billion in investment surrounding these sites and almost 140,000 jobs – a substantial return on the federal investment in the program.
With brownfields in every Congressional district, this program impacts communities across the country as some of the success stories below point out:
- In Rep. McKinley’s district, $82,000 of EPA grant money leveraged into $17.25 million at the Todd’s Exxon site.
- In Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden’s (R-OR) district, the Grants Pass River Road Reserve site leveraged $220,938 of grant money into $2,089,000.
- In Rep. Tim Walberg’s (R-MI) district, there are several brownfields sites with significant return on investment. One brownfields site leveraged $3,209 into $4,100,000 while another leveraged $17,200 into $6,274,050.
- In Rep. Susan Brooks’ (R-IN) district, $16,986 of EPA grant money leveraged into $4,000,000 at the former Hartford Metal Products site.
- In Rep. Billy Long’s (R-MO) district, a former Earthgrains Company bakery property leveraged $1,200 of EPA grant money into $38,009,200.
- In Rep. Larry Buschon’s (R-IN) district, there are several brownfields sites that leveraged their modest grant money into millions of dollars in return on invest. A few sites include a former cabinet company property leveraged $8,636 into $26,000,000; an old strip mine leveraged $64,782 into $50,000,000; and a vacant lot leveraged $68,322 into $60,006,250.
In November 2017, the House passed H.R. 3017, the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 by a vote of 409-8. This reauthorization was signed into law as part of the March 2018 omnibus package, which contained compromise text based on H.R. 3017 and made several additional improvements to the brownfields law to ensure more sites are cleaned up.