TPL Praises Congressional Brownfields Vote
WASHINGTON, 12/21/01 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization that protects land for public use, today praised Congress for its bipartisan approval of legislation bringing $200 million a year to clean up abandoned industrial properties around the nation. The sites are known as brownfields.
“This legislation is the best possible Christmas present for communities across the country,” said Alan Front, TPL Senior Vice President. “In passing the Brownfields Revitalization Act as the final gavel struck on the 2001 legislative session, Congress passed the only major piece of environmental legislation this year.”
The bill provides vital assistance for conversion of brownfield sites to parks and new community resources, and for the redevelopment that keeps other undeveloped spaces open.
“The unanimous approval by both the House and the Senate reflect the critical importance of this bipartisan bill and the leadership of the bill’s sponsors, Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island,” said Front. The bill also has been a priority for the White House.
“With the strong commitment of President Bush, this landmark legislation transforms brownfields from a dry dictionary definition to a vibrant National program,” said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
There are an estimated 450,000 brownfield sites in this country. “These previously developed properties have fallen into disuse and disrepair and now lay idle due to real or perceived contamination,” said Front. “Left unreclaimed, they cast a pall over thousands of cities and towns across America. But if restored, they can revitalize the social fabric, economies, and character of otherwise neglected neighborhoods.”
“Some of TPL’s first projects involved the reclamation of brownfields in Oakland, Calif., and Newark, N.J., and we have helped turn blighted, contaminated lots into gardens and pocket parks in many other communities. So we know this is a program that works and we look forward to working with other communities,” Front said.
The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 1.4 million acres, valued at over $2 billion. For more information, visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org.