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 ShimkusOvernight Energy: Watchdog hits Interior over personnel moves | Dems want to push back vote on Pruitt's No. 2 | Gowdy says EPA isn't complying with travel probe Overnight Energy: Court won’t stop kids’ climate lawsuit | GOP blocks Dem attempt to make Pruitt fly coach | House delays pollution rules for brickmakers GOP rejects Dems’ attempt to stop Pruitt’s first-class travel 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 PruittDecline in EPA enforcement won't keep climate bill from coming Pruitt once bought Oklahoma home from lobbyist: report Lobbyist whose wife rented to Pruitt sought help from EPA for client 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 PalloneOvernight Health Care: GOP in retreat on ObamaCare | Drug pricing fight heads to the states | PhRMA spends record amount on lobbying Overnight Tech: Dem FCC commish stepping down | Lawmakers clash over internet 'fast lanes' | Tech giants vow not to help government cyberattacks | Tax filers to get extension after IRS tech troubles House Dems, GOP clash over internet 'fast lanes' 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.