In late July, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Brownfields Task Force Chair Elizabeth (NJ) Mayor Christian J. Bollwage applauded passage of Brownfield Redevelopment legislation, commending that “on behalf of the nation’s mayors, I commend members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for passing a bipartisan Brownfields Redevelopment bill that would reauthorize the very successful Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields program.
“I also commend members of the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for also moving Brownfields Reauthorization bills in a bipartisan manner. All of these bills will improve the EPA Brownfields program and help redevelop more properties and create more jobs throughout the United States.”
Bollwage added that “several mayors testified on behalf of the Conference of Mayors on this issue this year including myself, USCM Energy Chair New Bedford (MA) Mayor Jon Mitchell, and Schenectady (NY) Mayor Gary McCarthy. We thank Congress for inviting mayors to testify and incorporating our suggestions to improve the bill including: increasing cleanup grant amounts, creating a multipurpose grant, and maintaining funding levels.”
According to EPA, since the inception of the program, the EPA Brownfields program has provided crucial assistance to local governments for reclaiming hazardous, polluted and underutilized properties. To date, there have been over 26,000 brownfields assessments and 1,200 brownfields cleanups nationally, which has led to over 123,000 jobs. Since this program was established in 2002, for each dollar spent, it is averaged $16 in other investments; in total, $22 billion federal dollars have been invested with $350 billion invested overall.