The U.S. House has passed a measure dealing with Brownfield environmental cleanup sites across the U.S.
The vote was 409-8 and Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Markwayne Mullin, and Steve Russell supported the bill. Rep. Jim Bridenstine did not vote.
Brownfield grants were used in cleanup of several sites in Oklahoma City.
“The number of properties assessed and/or remediated now stands at 45 with funding from the EPA Brownfields Program, but the shining star on their skyline has to be the Devon Energy Tower, followed closely by the historic (and some say haunted) Skirvin Hotel,” stated the EPA on its website of the Brownfields Program. ” Other significant projects on former Brownfields include the Bricktown area; where their ballpark, a waterway, shops, stores, police and fire department facilities, and other developments are created in areas with previous environmental challenges.”
The Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017 is similar to legislation offered by Sen. Jim Inhofe, called the BUILD or Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development Act.
“The Brownfields program has seen tremendous success in Oklahoma and is a long-standing priority of mine as it achieves tangible results towards environmental cleanup while promoting economic development,” said the senator. “I wholeheartedly believe that the BUILD Act can and should become law this year and urge the Senate to take it up before the end of the year.”
Sen. Inhofe is a senior member of the U.S. Senate environment and Public Works Committee and had the support of three Democrats on the committee in offering the BUILD Act.
His proposed Act would provide funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas as they tackle more complex cleanup sites. There are an estimated 450,000 Brownfield sites across the nation.
“Whether it’s Bricktown in Oklahoma City or the new ballpark in Tulsa, Brownfields has been very good to us in Oklahoma,” said the senator at the time of announcing his Act.