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Committee Overwhelmingly Approves Brownfields Reauthorization and Disaster Assistance Bills

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2017 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Washington, DC – The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today marked up bills to promote economic development in communities across the country and improve federal disaster assistance and mitigation programs, including H.R. 1758, the “Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2017.” 

Brownfields are properties where contamination is suspected, but unknown.  Fear of environmental liability at these sites causes developers to look outside cities, towns, and communities to previously undeveloped properties for new opportunities.  This leaves many of these brownfields untouched, driving down property values, contributing to blight, and providing no tax revenue to local communities. 

The “Brownfields Reauthorization Act” is critical for community renewal, economic development and environmental restoration because it formally reauthorizes and makes improvements to the brownfields grant and state voluntary cleanup program for fiscal years 2017 to 2022.

“I am pleased that the Committee was able to consider and approve this important legislation, and I commend the bill’s bipartisan sponsors for their efforts to move forward,” said Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).  “The Brownfields grant program has helped create thousands of jobs since it was established, restored over a million acres of land, and helped previously unused properties start generating tax revenues again.”

The “Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2017” also has broad support from a number of stakeholders and organizations, including:

  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • National League of Cities
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Regional Councils
  • California Association for Local Economic Development
  • Center for Creative Land Recycling
  • Georgia Brownfields Association
  • Groundwork USA
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Leading Builders of America
  • Minnesota Brownfields
  • NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association
  • National Apartment Association
  • National Association of Development Organizations
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals
  • National Association of Realtors
  • National Brownfields Coalition
  • National Ground Water Association
  • National Leased Housing Association
  • National Multifamily Housing Council
  • Smart Growth America

Click here for more information about H.R. 1758, the “Brownfields Reauthorization Act,” including letters of support from the above organizations.

The Committee also approved bipartisan bills to improve FEMA’s disaster assistance and mitigation programs, including a bill to prohibit FEMA from rescinding disaster assistance payments to individuals three years after being notified of the assistance they are to receive, ensuring that individuals are not penalized long after the fact for receiving inaccurate disaster assistance due to FEMA error; and a bill to require FEMA to issue guidance regarding implementation of certain buy-outs or the acquisition of property for open space as a flood mitigation measure.

The complete list of legislation considered by the Committee today:

  • H.R. 1758, the “Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2017;” approved by voice vote
  • H.R. 1735, the “Community Empowerment for Mitigated Properties Act of 2017;” approved by voice vote
  • H.R. 3176, the “Disaster Assistance Fairness and Accountability Act of 2017;” approved by voice vote
  • H. Con. Res. 69, “Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the District of Columbia Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run;” approved by voice vote
  • H. Res. 437, “Of inquiry requesting the President to provide certain documents in the President’s possession;” reported unfavorably to the House by a vote of 31 to 24.

More information about today’s markup is available here