The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013, introduced today by Senators Lautenberg, Inhofe, Udall and Crapo, would improve the way the federal government supports brownfields redevelopment in the United States. Here’s how.
The Act reauthorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program, and improves the program’s ability to support local economic development. If passed, the bill would modernize and improve key elements of the program, and would provide additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields. It makes a number of improvements recommended by the National Brownfields Coalition, which is comprised of a broad set of stakeholders, including local governments, developers, and community redevelopment organizations.
The BUILD Act recognizes the complexity of remediating larger sites by increasing the funding ceiling for cleanup grants and allowing funds to be used for administrative costs. Additionally, the legislation allows the EPA to award multipurpose grants that include multiple elements of a project, including site inventory, characterization, planning or remediation for one or more Brownfiled sites. This will speed redevelopment by streamlining and increasing certainty on the clean-up process. For example, Tampa, FL’s multi-purpose grant will help the City work with community residents to clean up a former junkyard. The accelerated process allows the City to take advantage of new residents and investment in the newly opened Encore development across the street.
The legislation expands the eligibility of nonprofits to qualify for site assessment grants. Under current law, non-profits only qualify for site remediation grants. The legislation also allows local governments to apply for site assessment grants that were acquired by a community before the creation of the Brownfields Program.
In addition, the legislation provides technical assistance for rural communities, Indian tribes, and low-income communities, as well as waterfront sites and renewable energy facilities. Finally, the legislation reauthorizes the Brownfields Program at current funding levels through Fiscal Year 2016.
The BUILD Act will enable the EPA Brownfields Program to make long-lasting and crucial investments in America’s towns and neighborhoods. Properties will sooner be cleaned up and back in productive use.
Want to know even more? Download a convenient section-by-section summary for more information about the particulars of the bill.