News Releases

(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today celebrated the passage of the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act. The bill, cosponsored by Murray, authorizes $150 million for grants to assess and cleanup brownfields – abandoned or underutilized industrial sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 99-0.

"I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate joined me in supporting funding to cleanup environmentally overlooked and contaminated sites," Murray said. "This bill is a victory for the environment because it will reduce development of open space, wilderness and farmland. And it is good for the economy and local communities because it will facilitate cleanup and revitalization of polluted and abandoned areas."

Under the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act, state and local governments, regional councils, state-chartered redevelopment agencies and tribes are eligible for grants up to $200,000. The legislation also provides Superfund liability protections to facilitate brownfield redevelopment. In addition, the Act authorizes $50 million to establish and enhance state and tribal brownfields programs.

"The Senate did the right thing in passing this bipartisan environmental legislation and I hope the House will do the same," Murray said. "I appreciate the Bush Administration's commitment to support the cleanup and revitalization of brownfields," Murray said, noting a pattern of recent decisions to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, delay the finalization of arsenic drinking water standards, and reverse positions on the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.

Senator Murray is a strong advocate of brownfield cleanup programs. She cosponsored the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act of 2000 which failed to win passage in the 106th Congress.

There are an estimated 450,000 brownfields sites throughout the country, several thousand of which exist in Washington state. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has funded 11 brownfield assessment pilot programs in Washington state, including programs in Aberdeen, Bellingham and Tacoma and with the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Puyallup Tribe.