The U.S. Senate passed legislation by unanimous consent to reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency‘s brownfields program and increase grant resources for remediation.
The June 27, 2016 bill, S.1479, would allow the EPA to dole out individual grants totalling $950,000, while also expanding remediation authority for charitable organizations.
A uniquely bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers included notorious climate change denier Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), as well as Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
They rallied behind the bill in recent months, arguing the new language will help clean up blighted sites nationwide and boost the economy.
“This legislation will help ensure that these brownfield sites will no longer be part of the problem, but will be part of an economic solution,” Markey said in a joint press release June 28.
Brownfields refer to sites polluted by former industrial and commercial operations and subsequently abandoned. An estimated 450,000 sites exist nationwide.
The legislation, which amends the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, would reauthorize the EPA brownfields program until 2018.
Photo of U.S. Capitol at sunset by Storm Cunningham.