Carper-Backed Environmental Bill Passes House

WASHINGTON, DC – A bill co-sponsored by Senator Tom Carper that would help clean-up contaminated properties in each of Delaware’s counties received a boost today when the House of Representatives passed the Brownfield Revitalization Act. Brownfields are lightly contaminated, abandoned industrial sites that are often dismissed as wastelands but can be cleaned up and used by new businesses. Carper helped push the bill through the Senate, helping it pass 99-0. The bill now heads to President George W. Bush for his signature. “Brownfields are untapped engines for economic growth. The cleanup of brownfield sites protects public health and promotes private investment in the surrounding community,” said Carper, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The House passed a Brownfield bill that protects the environment, encourages businesses to find new use for contaminated sites and makes great sense for Delaware. By reinvesting in the land, we ensure valuable, environmentally safe spaces for our children.” “Superfund reform and Brownfields cleanup are essential to the revitalization of blighted urban areas. This legislation establishes a working plan to assess, cleanup, and return Brownfields sites to productive sites which can lead to an increase in jobs, public recreation and will help spur the economy,” said Republican Congressman Mike Castle, a key supporter of the legislation in the House. The Revitalization Act assists the state and local communities in their efforts to cleanup abandoned, lightly contaminated industrial sites. The bill authorizes $200 million a year in additional funding for this cleanup and creates business incentives for the redevelopment of these sites. In an earlier speech from the Senate floor, Carper spoke of how earlier brownfields cleanup efforts made when he was Governor helped turn around areas like the Wilmington Riverfront. “Where once festered industrial wastelands, now grow beautiful riverfronts that are helping to drive the economic revitalization of once desolate areas,” Carper said. “This bill, when enacted, will give our state a boost in turning fields of decay into economic engines for growth.” Cleaning up and revitalizing brownfields sites in Delaware has already created more than 500 jobs and 50 new businesses, increased tax revenues, allowed the construction of 266 new apartments for University of Delaware students, opened three new school sites, and allowed for several parks and recreational areas. For towns, moving new businesses onto decontaminated brownfields sites instead of paving over open spaces provides all the benefits of new businesses growth without incurring the costs of increased sprawl.