On Wednesday the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing to examine the many benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program. The program has been funded for the past several years but is not a formally authorized part of the federal budget. Wednesday’s hearing examined whether that should change.
BEFORE AND AFTER: Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta was previously the site of an Atlantic Steel facility. The EPA’s Brownfields program helped make the redevelopment project possible.
Did you know that every federal dollar spent on brownfields cleanup leverages $17.79 in value for communities? And that redeveloping one acre of contaminated land creates an average of 10 jobs? These benefits don’t stop where the brownfield ends: the value of residential property near brownfield sites can increase anywhere from 5.1 to 12.8 percent when cleanup is complete.
These are just some of the many reasons why brownfields cleanup and redevelopment is a great investment of federal dollars, yet the Brownfields program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not formally authorized in the federal budget. Congress has the power to change that, and this week members of the House of Representatives will examine whether to do make brownfields cleanup an official part of the federal budget.
Harrison Commons in Harrison, NJ All across the country, in communities big and small, are remnants of an industrial past—underutilized land, often sitting vacant. When the Langdale and Riverdale textile mills closed in the 1990’s, Valley, Alabama not only lost …
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Mayor Patricia Murphy of New Milford, CT visit New Milford’s Century Brass mill, a brownfield site, in 2014. Photos via The News-Times.
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5) is fighting hard to reinstate a tax incentive to help cleaning up contaminated land more affordable and more feasible.
Late last month, Esty introduced the Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Incentive Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2002), a bill to re-establish the Brownfields Tax Incentive which ended in 2011.
Originally signed into law in 1997 and codified through Section 198(h) of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code, the Incentive allowed taxpayers to fully deduct the costs of brownfield sites’ environmental cleanup the year the costs were incurred—making the arduous process more affordable for those who take it on.
Smart Growth America’s National Brownfields Coalition is the only national campaign dedicated to advocating for brownfields cleanup and redevelopment in Washington today. We encourage members of Congress and the Administration to support legislation and direct investment in brownfields cleanup and redevelopment.
Brownfields cleanup is a win-win-win-win: it creates jobs, spurs broader economic revitalization, helps people lead healthier lives, and protects the environment—all for a modest public investment. That’s something legislators on both sides of the aisle and from every state can get behind.
Made up of over 6,000 elected officials, professionals, business leaders, and advocates, the National Brownfields Coalition is the leading voice uniting the brownfields movement. We are proud to be at the forefront of this important national movement, and we welcome new allies to join our work.
The Double Wide Grill in Pittsburgh, PA was built in a former gas station building with help from the EPA Brownfields Program. Photo by EPA Smart Growth via Flickr.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced three grant programs for 2015 to help clean up land contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.
Brownfields Assessment Grants provide funding for developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfield sites. Individual grants go up to $200,000.
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the fiscal year 2015 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. The legislation would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overall funding by 9 percent in addition to cutting funding for EPA programs important to helping communities advance smart growth solutions.
The first ever New Life for Closed Gas Stations conference begins Tuesday, June 3, in Orlando, Florida. Gas station sites may be small, but they pack a big redevelopment punch for the neighborhoods surrounding them.
The number of gas stations in the U.S. has declined every year since 2002, and there were 23% fewer places to buy gas in 2012 than there were in 1994. Typically in highly-visible locations along commercial corridors, these sites can be an asset for investors and local governments who want to make a big impression with limited redevelopment dollars. Prominent locations and interesting architecture have made old gas stations attractive to investors seeking a strong sense of place to anchor up-and-coming blocks.
The redeveloped Merchandise Mart on Washington Avenue in St. Louis. Via Flickr.
This week, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) introduced the Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Incentive Reauthorization Act of 2014, or H.R. 4542. The legislation would re-establish the brownfields tax incentive for five years through 2018. In a bipartisan show of support for the bill, Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) have signed on as cosponsors.
Originally signed into law in 1997 and extended through December 31, 2011, Section 198’s Brownfields Tax Incentive is a tax deduction intended to encourage the cleanup and revitalization of brownfield properties. Under the incentive, environmental cleanup costs are fully deductible in the year incurred, rather than capitalized and spread over time. Improvements in 2006 expanded the Incentive to include petroleum cleanup.
This morning, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted unanimously to pass the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013. The bill will go next to the full Senate for a vote.