Oxley Moves Brownfields Bill Through Financial Services Committee

April 12, 2002

The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill to provide local governments? greater flexibility to rehabilitate brownfields sites and better access to redevelopment funding for communities that have traditionally had trouble obtaining it.

"There are thousands of brownfields sites in my home state of Ohio, including a number in my congressional district," said Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael G. Oxley (OH). "Mansfield Mayor Lydia Reid testified before the subcommittee about the challenges that communities face when they try to return these contaminated sites to productive use. One thing she said especially struck me: that if federal programs were more flexible, the development of the Ohio Brass site in Mansfield would have been speeded up by two to four years."

The Committee approved the Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act, H.R. 2941, which was introduced by Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA), by voice vote.

"H.R. 2941 is a solid bill that will give communities the flexibility they need to redevelop blighted properties into assets," stated Rep. Miller.

The bill addresses concerns over the need to cleanup brownfields sites -- sites where redevelopment is complicated by potential environmental contamination, but that are less seriously contaminated than those designated as Superfund sites. By promoting the redevelopment of these sites and revitalizing the communities around them, local jurisdictions would improve the quality of life and the environment in these areas.

Returning the nation?s brownfields sites to productive use could create more than 550,000 new jobs and generate up to $2.4 billion in additional tax revenue for communities across the U.S.

The Brownfields Redevelopment Act would authorize appropriations for the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) program for the first time and would eliminate the requirement that local governments obtain section 108 loan guarantees as a condition to receiving BEDI grant funding.

This would allow small communities which are unable to secure section 108 guarantees to take advantage of programs intended to help them turn brownfields sites into productive properties.

The Committee approved two technical amendments by voice vote.

Source: House Financial Services Committee

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