Both republican and democratic senators from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have met to discuss potential paths forward for a multi-year reauthorization of the Brownfield Program. During interviews conducted in February and March, committee members indicated that the program is popular and likely to receive bipartisan support.
The original act created under the Brownfield Act of 2002, assisted states and local communities to clean up abandoned, idle or underutilized sites where contamination did not present a serious enough threat to human health or the environment to be considered for listing on CERCLA’s National Priorities List. The program, which expired in 2006, has continued to be reauthorized on an annual basis; however, members of the Environment and Public Works Committee have indicated optimism that there is strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House which would reauthorize and fund the law for an extended period. In 2014, proposed legislation that would have reauthorized the federal Brownfield Program at $250,000,000 annually through 2016 passed the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee, but, despite support from both democrats and republicans, the measure never received Senate floor consideration. With Republicans in control of both houses, and with modifications to the proposed legislation to ensure that grant opportunities are available for smaller states and rural areas, a multi-year reauthorization proposal is likely to be taken up by both the Senate and the House this year.
For more information on the Brownfield Program, please contact Phillip Hoover.