House passes EPA contaminated site clean-up bill

House passes EPA contaminated site clean-up bill
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The House passed a bill Thursday reauthorizing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contaminated site clean-up program.

The bill extends the EPA’s brownfields program through 2022 and authorizes new funding for it. The brownfields program provides grants to cities and states to help them clean up and redevelop contaminated industrial sites.

The EPA’s program and the House’s bill are both popular: Members passed the bill on a 409-8 vote.

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“The EPA brownfields program is critical to states and local communities as they address contaminated industrial and commercial properties and return them to productive use,” Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusNew EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Unending Pruitt controversies leave Republicans frustrated Overnight Energy: House votes to advance Yucca Mountain nuke waste plan | EPA won't reverse danger findings for paint stripping chemical | County sues oil companies over climate MORE (R-Ill.) said.

“Cleaning up these sites is great for the economy because brownfields grants can be directly leveraged into jobs, additional redevelopment funds and increased residential and commercial values,” he said. 

The House bill reauthorizes the program until 2022 at $200 million level annually. It authorizes $50 million in annual grants for states and Native American Tribes and it tweaks several aspects of the program, including multipurpose grants and the law's funding caps.

The EPA under Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittNew EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law Top Dem: EPA slowed ‘politically charged’ FOIA requests MORE has aimed to expand and highlight its work on brownfields sites. In March, Pruitt told a group of mayors that he would fight to protect funding for the program even as the Trump administration proposed deep cuts to the agency as a whole. 

“This bill is a compromise,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneFCC passes controversial rule changing how it handles consumer complaints Overnight Health Care: Dem demands details on Trump-Pfizer pricing deal | Why both sides agree nominee could shift high court to right on abortion | DEA gets more powers to limit opioid production Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers eye ban on Chinese surveillance cameras | DOJ walks back link between fraud case, OPM breach | GOP senators question Google on Gmail data | FCC under pressure to delay Sinclair merger review MORE (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said.

“I would have liked to include more funding for this important program, but I believe this bill will improve the program and bolster the federal investment in cleaning up these sites,” he said.