February 18, 2001

Coles, Conference Voice Strong Support for Senate's Bipartisan Brownfields Legislation

Washington, DC -- Mayors across the nation voiced their strong support for bipartisan brownfields reform legislation introduced in the Senate February 14, 2001. "The Mayors believe this legislation can dramatically improve the nation's efforts to recycle abandoned and the underutilized brownfield sites, providing new incentives and statutory reforms to peed the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of these properties," said Conference President and Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles. (Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.)

The key provisions of the bill, the "Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act of 2001" (S. 350), include:

  • Authorization for $150 million in funds for assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites;
  • New legal protections through Superfund liability relief for innocent parties, such as contiguous property owners, prospective purchasers and innocent land owners;
  • Authorization for $50 million per year for state cleanup programs, and creation of appropriate limits on federal enforcement authority in deference to state programs;
  • Creation of a public record of brownfield sites, and enhanced community involvement in site cleanup and reuse;
  • Provisions for deferrals of listing sites on the National Priorities List, if states is taking action at sites.

"If we can pass this bill into law, it would have significant social and economic benefits for our cities, " said Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory, who chairs the Conference's Standing Committee on Energy and Environment. "The Mayors believe the time has come to enact this priority legislation. Congress can do it-we know we've got the President's support for brownfields redevelopment. This bill provides cities with a real opportunity to leverage one of our scarcest and most valuable resources-land-in a way we couldn't before, to stimulate business development, create jobs and provide parks and open space for the residents of America's cities."

Contacts: Kevin McCarty or Jubi Headley, (202) 293-7330

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.


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