WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today recognized the 10th anniversary of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields program, which funds the rehabilitation of abandoned and polluted properties to increase safety and attract new businesses to communities.
Lautenberg was the sponsor of the first legislation that proposed establishing a Brownfields program, and he is now working on a reauthorization bill to build on the success of the program and further improve its effectiveness.
“The revitalization and clean-up of abandoned properties creates communities where businesses prosper, jobs are created and families are protected from dangerous chemicals,” said Lautenberg, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health. “For the past decade, the Brownfields program has helped new businesses, parks and residential areas replace abandoned, polluted properties. I will continue working to protect and strengthen this critical federal program.”
Over the past 10 years, the EPA has helped clean up more than 600 Brownfields across the United States, putting more than 20,000 acres back to productive use.
Lautenberg chaired a Senate committee hearing in October 2011 examining the Brownfields program and its need for reauthorization. In June 2011, he announced $3.4 million in federal grants to clean up and redevelop numerous Brownfields sites across New Jersey.
Brownfields sites are properties affected by the presence of environmental contamination such as hazardous waste or other pollution. These properties are often former industrial sites where contamination presents a health hazard. Even when Brownfields do not pose a threat to human health, the mere perception of contamination can discourage redevelopment. The Brownfields program provides funding to clean up any contamination and prepare the site for redevelopment. There are 450,000 brownfields sites across the United States and approximately 10,000 Brownfields sites in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
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