DANBURY, Conn. – The U.S. Senate passed the Brownfields Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored in the House by Reps. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and Chris Gibson (R-NY), as part of a larger legislative package.
The Brownfields Reauthorization Act will help communities revitalize and remediate “brownfields” – abandoned, often contaminated former industrial properties. The bill was included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which passed the Senate by an 85-12 vote. The Brownfields Reauthorization Act was added to the Energy Policy Modernization Act as an amendment by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who sponsored the Senate version of Esty and Gibson’s bill.
Following the Senate’s passage of the measure, Esty – whose 5th Congressional District includes much of northwestern Connecticut, including Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Sherman – and Gibson called on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to take up the bill so it can receive a vote on the House floor.
“Cities and towns in central and northwest Connecticut like Meriden, New Milford, Torrington and Waterbury have miles of abandoned industrial sites that are just waiting to be restored into economic assets,” Esty said. “On average, every redeveloped acre of brownfields yields about 10 jobs for local economies, so helping communities remediate these sites is truly one of the best investments our federal government can make. The Senate’s action is a great step forward, but now the House needs to act. I urge my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to hold a mark-up of this bill so that it can receive a vote on the House floor and be signed into law.”
“We are working to see that our communities have the resources they need to remediate blighted industrial sites, creating opportunities for economic development and outdoor recreation, especially along our waterfronts,” Gibson said.
The Brownfields Reauthorization Act reauthorizes and improves the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields program, which provides local governments and nonprofits with resources to redevelop brownfields sites into livable, workable spaces, such as residences, offices, shopping centers or public parks.