WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, joined a bipartisan group of Senators led by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), in introducing the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015 (BUILD Act). The Brownfields program, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and enjoys strong bipartisan support, provides grants and technical assistance to states, local governments, tribes and redevelopment agencies to support the assessment, cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites. Among other things, the BUILD Act would provide funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas, expand the scope of eligible grant recipients to include non-profit community groups and authorize funding for multi-purpose grants to tackle more complex sites.
“The Brownfields program has long enjoyed strong, bipartisan support because it makes good sense,” said Senator Carper. “As we have seen clearly in Wilmington, Delaware, where the Brownfields program helped revitalize our riverfront, not only does the cleanup of Brownfield sites reduce risks to public health, but it also breathes new life into formerly degraded areas, while creating jobs and spurring economic growth. With more than 450,000 Brownfield sites across the country, we have our work cut out for us, and given President Trump’s devastating proposed cuts to toxic site cleanup programs, its reauthorization is now more important than ever. The BUILD Act will help ensure that communities across the country have the tools they need to clean up contaminated sites and make our environment healthier and more productive.”
Highlights of the BUILD Act:
- Authorizes up to $7,500 in technical assistance grants to eligible entities in small communities, Indian tribes, rural areas, and disadvantaged areas.
- Expands the eligibility for Brownfields grants for nonprofit organizations to include certain nonprofit organizations, limited liability corporations, limited partnerships, and community development entities.
- Increases the funding limit for remediation grants to $500,000 for each site, with some exceptions for higher funding, and authorizes multi-purpose grants up to $950,000, which provide greater certainty for long-term project financing.
- Allows certain government entities that do not qualify as a bona fide prospective purchaser to be eligible to receive grants so long as the government entity did not cause or contribute to a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance at the property.
- Allows eligible entities to use up to 8 percent of their Brownfields grant funding for administrative costs.
- Directs EPA in providing grants to give consideration to brownfield sites located adjacent to federally designated floodplains.
- Requires EPA to establish a program to provide grants of up to $500,000 to eligible entities and to capitalize a revolving loan fund to locate clean energy projects at Brownfields sites.
- Reauthorizes the Brownfield program at the same authorized funding level ($250 million per year) through fiscal year 2018.
Senators Carper, Markey (D-Mass.) and Inhofe (R-Okla.) were also joined by Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mike Crapo (R-Id.) as original cosponsors of the BUILD Act.