House passes EPA contaminated site clean-up bill

House passes EPA contaminated site clean-up bill
© Getty Images

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 ShimkusRepublicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Unending Pruitt controversies leave Republicans frustrated 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: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas EPA inspector general to resign Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina 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 PalloneNew Trump rule would weaken Obama methane pollution standards FCC watchdog clears chairman of 'favoritism' allegations over Sinclair deal GAO report blasts Trump's handling of ObamaCare 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.