INHOFE, SENATORS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BROWNFIELDS REAUTHORIZATION BILL

WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday with three colleagues to modernize and improve key elements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program. Inhofe introduced the bill titled Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013 with Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

“The Brownfields program has been a tremendous help to Oklahoma, and I am proud to author the program’s reauthorization with Senator Lautenberg,” said Inhofe.  “The program has helped communities throughout Oklahoma clean up buildings contaminated by lead paint, asbestos, and mold so that they can be successfully redeveloped.  This reauthorization, among other things, will amend the program to allow small communities access to technical assistance and to streamline projects so that they can be completed more efficiently.”

Brownfields sites are properties affected by the presence of environmental contamination such as hazardous waste or other pollution.  Since 2002, the Brownfields program has funded the rehabilitation of abandoned and polluted properties to increase safety and attract new businesses to communities.  Among the marquee developments in Oklahoma that have participated in the Brownfields program are: the Skirvin Hotel and several Bricktown facilities in Oklahoma City, and OneOK Field and the BOK Center in Tulsa.

“The Brownfields program has been a tremendous help to Oklahoma, and I am proud to author the program’s reauthorization with Sen. Lautenberg,” said Inhofe.  “The program has helped communities throughout Oklahoma clean up buildings contaminated by lead paint, asbestos, and mold so that they can be successfully redeveloped.  This reauthorization, among other things, will amend the program to allow small communities access to technical assistance and to streamline projects so that they can be completed more efficiently.”

“Much of the land around downtown Oklahoma City was used by businesses like auto repair shops, salvage yards, print shops, dry cleaners, or was impacted by oil and gas activities in the early to mid-1900s.” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.  “This is prime property that, with the help of Brownfields grants, can be restored and put back into use.”

“When Brownfield sites are identified and remediated, they become a marketable asset and a drawing card, an enticement for business and industry, bringing jobs,growth and development to our local economy,” said Mayor Dewey Bartlett.  “Our new downtown arena, the BOK Center, and baseball stadium, ONEOK Field, are two of Tulsa’s major Brownfield success stories. Tulsa continues its work for Brownfield redevelopment, and we’re expecting great results from our efforts.”

“The Brownfields Program is a helpful tool for the state of Oklahoma to drive economic growth,” said Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Executive Director Steve Thompson. “I applaud Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues for working to reauthorize this important program. The Brownfields Program has been instrumental in cleaning up buildings and property in blighted areas throughout Oklahoma, while protecting the public from potentially dangerous contaminants. The reforms included in this reauthorization could help the DEQ Brownfields Program serve Oklahomans more effectively and efficiently.”

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