Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, secured more than $47 million in grant funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program as well as an additional $80 million to help states and Native American tribes redevelop brownfields sites. The funding was included in the Appropriations Minibus that recently passed the Senate by an overwhelming majority of 83 to 15 and will now be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Collins has long advocated for this important program, which assists local communities as they work to clean up contaminated sites to improve the environment and promote economic development.
“The Brownfields Program has proven to be a major benefit to the overall health of Maine communities,” said Senator Collins. “In addition to cleaning up hazardous substances and improving our environment, this investment will help communities create new development opportunities to attract businesses that create good jobs for Mainers, particularly in rural areas. I am pleased that a bipartisan majority of my colleagues joined me in supporting the inclusion of this important funding in the Senate-passed Appropriations bill.”
The January 2017 assessment from the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) – originally requested in March 2016 by Senators Collins and Angus King – highlighted the importance of the Brownfields Program and its potential to leverage federal resources to redevelop former industrial sites, support the viability of impacted mill communities, and help to grow Maine’s rural economy.
A brownfield site is a property that contains a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant that hinders the potential to reuse or redevelop the site. The EPA's Brownfields Program assists states and local communities as they assess, safely clean up, and reuse brownfields sites for economic development projects.
In April, Senators Collins and King announced that a combined total of $3,200,000 in federal funding had been awarded for the assessment and cleanup of 10 Brownfields sites in Maine.