U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is Promoting a Bill to Modernize and Improve the EPA Brownfields Program

Bricker & Eckler, LLP
R. McCarthy

July 23, 2013

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently hosted a conference call to discuss his support of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2013. Brown said the bill, introduced in March, would modernize and improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program by “providing additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields.” In connection with the bill, Brown’s office released a county-by-county list of Ohio brownfield sites that although admittedly incomplete (because site owners are not required to inform the EPA), nonetheless includes more than 250 brownfields in Ohio

With More than 250 Sites Around Ohio, Brown Outlines Bill That Would Provide New Tools for Communities to Redevelop Brownfields

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act Would Improve How the EPA Supports Brownfields Redevelopment

This article is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purposes of providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have. In addition, the opinions expressed herein are the opinions of Mr. McCarthy may not reflect the opinions of Synergy Environmental, Bricker & Eckler LLP or either of those firms’ clients.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With more than 250 registered Brownfield sites around Ohio, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) outlined legislation that would provide new tools for communities seeking to redevelop these sites. The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act would modernize and improve key elements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program by providing additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields.

“Brownfields can be found in big cities and small towns in all parts of our state,” Brown said. “Brownfields don’t have to be sites of blight – they can be remediated and redeveloped to attract new economic development and job creation.”

Brownfields are abandoned or idled parcels of industrial or commercial land that are available for re-use. These lands are contrasted with greenfields—undeveloped land that could be used for development. Brownfield redevelopment has potential hurdles that greenfields do not face as they could have a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant present which complicates the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of the property. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties spurs economic development, protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off undeveloped green spaces and working lands.

The BUILD Act would make non-profits eligible for assessment grants and allow the EPA to award multipurpose grants that include multiple elements of a project, including site inventory, characterization, planning or remediation for one or more Brownfield sites. This will speed redevelopment by streamlining and increasing certainty on the clean-up process for towns and municipalities. The bill also provides technical assistance for rural communities and low-income communities, as well as waterfront sites and renewable energy facilities.

Brown’s office released a county-by-county inventory of the more than 250 sites registered as brownfields across Ohio. Although the Ohio Brownfield Inventory provides an overview of Ohio’s brownfield properties it is not an exhaustive list of all brownfields in the state.

Since 1992, EPA has awarded nearly 140 grants to Ohio communities for site assessments, clean up, revolving loans, and job training. One of those grants was awarded to the Western Reserve Port Authority to rehabilitate properties in Trumbull County. Warren Mayor Doug Franklin joined Sen. Brown on today’s conference call to discuss his city’s efforts to address a number of brownfield properties in Warren—including the former Delphi complex in north Warren—which received funding through the Western Reserve Port Authority grant.

This article is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purposes of providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have. In addition, the opinions expressed herein are the opinions of Mr. McCarthy may not reflect the opinions of Synergy Environmental, Bricker & Eckler LLP or either of those firms’ clients.

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