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 ShimkusDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Lawmakers beat lobbyists at charity hockey game Ocasio-Cortez unveils Green New Deal climate resolution 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 PruittOvernight Energy: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards 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 PalloneHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Lawmakers pay tribute to John Dingell's legacy on health care | White House denies officials are sabotaging ObamaCare | FDA wants meeting with Juul, Altria execs on youth vaping Hillicon Valley: Dems ready to subpoena Trump Tower meeting phone records | Dems, Whitaker in standoff over testimony | Bezos accuses National Enquirer of 'extortion' | Amazon offers rules for facial recognition | Apple releases FaceTime fix 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.