H.R. 3020 (105th): Brownfields Reclamation Act of 1997

105th Congress, 1997–1998. Text as of Nov 09, 1997 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

HR 3020 IH

105th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3020

To establish a program, primarily through the States and municipalities, and their agents, to facilitate the environmental assessment, cleanup, and reuse of abandoned or underutilized, potentially contaminated properties not on, or proposed for inclusion on, the National Priorities List.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 9, 1997

Mr. STOKES introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To establish a program, primarily through the States and municipalities, and their agents, to facilitate the environmental assessment, cleanup, and reuse of abandoned or underutilized, potentially contaminated properties not on, or proposed for inclusion on, the National Priorities List.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Brownfields Reclamation Act of 1997’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:

      (1) Past uses of land in the United States primarily for industrial and commercial purposes have created hundreds of thousands of properties throughout the United States that are now abandoned or substantially underutilized, and which may also be environmentally contaminated.

      (2) The abandonment or substantial underutilization of the properties referred to in paragraph (1) contributes substantially to the economic and social distress of communities affecting large portions of the population, including poor, unemployed, and other disadvantaged individuals and households.

      (3) The abandonment or substantial underutilization of such properties impairs the ability of the Federal Government and the governments of States and political subdivisions of States to provide employment opportunities for, and improve the economic welfare of, the people of the United States, and the poor, unemployed, and disadvantaged, in particular.

      (4) The abandonment or substantial underutilization of such properties results in the inefficient use of community development facilities and related public services, and extends conditions of blight in local communities.

      (5) The manner in which--

        (A) the population of the United States is distributed; and

        (B) communities accommodate the growth of the national economy;

      affects the employment opportunities, availability of capital to provide economic opportunities, social conditions, and other important conditions of each such community.

      (6) The capital available for the redevelopment or reuse of brownfields properties/sites may be limited because of uncertainties regarding the degree of environmental contamination on the property/site, time and costs for property/site assessments and cleanup, and other factors.

      (7) Citizens who live in the affected areas are disproportionately impacted by economic and health risks associated with these properties.

      (8) Local communities’ interest have often been overlooked and is an essential part of the revitalization program and the planning for the reuse.

    (b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this Act are to--

      (1) facilitate the environmental assessment, cleanup, and reuse of abandoned or underutilized, potentially contaminated properties not on, or proposed for inclusion, on the Nationality Priorities List;

      (2) substantially reduce public health and environmental risks associated with such properties;

      (3) expedite land assembly, site assessment, cleanup, and reuse;

      (4) lower planning, environmental assessment, and cleanup costs;

      (5) reduce out-year environmental risk liability for developers, future property owners, lenders, environmental consultants, and public entities;

      (6) help assure community acceptance of cleanup remedies and proposed reuse;

      (7) promote job creation and commerce;

      (8) enhance entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for residents from distressed neighborhoods proximate to such properties;

      (9) preserve and enhance municipal and State tax bases;

      (10) promote land use policies and practices that lead to core city and older suburban site abandonment and underutilization in favor of the development of new properties located at the metropolitan periphery for industrial and other business purposes; and

      (11) help preserve commercial, recreational, and other existing land uses at the metropolitan periphery.

TITLE I--FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR STATE VOLUNTARY CLEANUP PROGRAMS

SEC. 101. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) An expanding number of States have created and operate voluntary cleanup programs.

      (2) State voluntary programs address contaminated properties that are generally lower risk properties and are ideal candidates for redevelopment.

      (3) There is also a need for a Federal program to support, facilitate, and sustain the efforts of local municipalities, nongovernmental agencies, and tribes to assess, clean up, redevelop, and reuse abandoned, idle and/or under used industrial and commercial properties in ways that protect the public’s health and the environment.

SEC. 102. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this title:

      (1) BROWNFIELDS PROPERTY/SITE- The term ‘brownfields’ means abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial properties/sites

where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination and that were formerly used primarily for industrial or commercial purposes--

        (A) that are no longer operating or are so substantially underutilized as to provide only marginal employment opportunities; and

        (B) that may have real or perceived conditions, constraints, or other circumstances that are detrimental to the public’s health or the environment.

      (2) DISTRESSED COMMUNITY- The term ‘distressed community’ has the same meaning as provided for such term by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

      (3) PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT (PA)- The term ‘preliminary assessment’ means review of existing environmental and health risk information and an off-site reconnaissance, if appropriate, to determine if a release may require additional investigation or action. A preliminary assessment may include an on-site reconnaissance, if appropriate.

      (4) SITE INSPECTION- The term ‘site inspection’ means an on-site investigation to determine whether there is a release or potential release and the nature of the associated threats. The purpose is to augment the data collected in the preliminary assessment and to generate, if necessary, sampling and other field data to determine, if further action or investigation is appropriate.

      (5) PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT- The term ‘Public Health Assessment’ means the evaluation of data and information on the release of hazardous substances into the environment in order to assess any current or future impact on public health, develop health advisories, or other recommendations, and identify studies or actions needed to evaluate and mitigate or prevent human effects.

SEC. 103. VOLUNTARY CLEANUP PROGRAM SUPPORTS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall facilitate and sustain State voluntary cleanup programs by carrying out the following actions:

      (1) The Administrator shall encourage the State and tribal governments to formulate cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse programs that--

        (A) require leadership by local municipalities;

        (B) provide opportunities for meaningful community involvement;

        (C) have adequate resources to ensure that cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse actions are conducted in an appropriate and timely manner, and that technical assistance, where appropriate, is available from State environmental and public health agencies responsible for the preliminary assessment, site inspection, and public health assessment;

        (D) provide mechanisms for written approval of response action plans and a certification or similar documentation indicating that the response actions are complete;

        (E) provide adequate oversight to ensure that response action is protective of human health and the environment, consistent with applicable Federal and State law, and are conducted in accordance with an appropriate response action plan; and

        (F) show the capability, through enforcement or other authorities, of ensuring completion of response actions if the parties are conducting the response action.

      (2) The Administrator shall encourage State programs to establish an effective mechanism for assuring community participation, especially of residents and business owners and local health authorities near brownfields properties/sites, in broad decisions regarding brownfields properties, cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse.

      (3) The Administrator shall provide funds to States and tribes with cleanup programs based on State needs and the availability of funds to help pay for site inventory, primary assessment, property/site inspection, and public health assessment by local municipalities and nongovernmental agencies.

      (4) The Administrator shall provide grant funds to States and tribes for local municipalities, other local government entities, or nongovernmental organizations to allow them to establish revolving loan funds.

      (5) The Administrator shall provide technical assistance to States and tribes, local municipalities, other local governmental entities, and nongovernmental organizations in designing, implementing, and evaluating cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse programs, especially States receiving grants under paragraphs (3) and (4). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry shall provide technical assistance for public health assessments to States and tribes, local municipalities, other governmental entities, and nongovernmental organizations engaged in designing and implementing State voluntary cleanup programs, especially States receiving grant funds under paragraphs (3) and (4).

    (b) PURPOSE- The purpose of the programs authorized by this section is to facilitate and sustain the assessment, cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse of brownfields properties.

    (c) ALLOCATION OF FUNDS- The Administrator shall allocate funds made available pursuant to this title among the States. In allocating the funds, the Administrator shall take into account--

      (1) local private/public partnership targeting cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse of brownfields properties;

      (2) evidence of capacity to complete primary assessment property/site inspections and public health assessment; and

      (3) evidence of regional cooperation among neighboring communities to solve these problems and to improve coordination in the development and implementation of future land use and development plans.

    (d) SCOPE OF FUNDING PROGRAMS-

      (1) PROPERTY/SITE INVENTORY GRANTS TO STATES-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Competitive grants shall be made to States and tribes which would provide funds to local municipalities, other governmental entities, and nongovernmental organizations based on paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (c).

        (B) GRANT APPLICATION- In an application for a grant under paragraph (1), a State shall submit each of the following:

          (i) A summary description of its cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse.

          (ii) A detailed description of the brownfields property history and intended use.

          (iii) The nature and extent of the local capacity and description of the technical assistance available to local municipalities, other governmental entities, and nongovernmental organizations.

        (C) STATE AND TRIBE GRANTING PROCEDURE- Site Inventory Grants to local municipalities, other governmental entities, and nongovernmental organizations will be selected competitively based upon the following criteria:

          (i) Proximity of properties/sites to distressed communities.

          (ii) Cost-effectiveness and timeliness of cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse plan.

          (iii) Size of State match, if greater than 50 percent.

      (2) PROPERTY/SITE CLEANUP REVOLVING LOAN FUND GRANTS TO STATES-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The size and terms of grants shall be flexible and subject to negotiations within broad statutory and regulatory guidelines. States loans to local municipalities shall be matched dollar for dollar by local jurisdictions and private contributors.

        (B) LOAN APPLICATION- In an application for a grant under paragraph (1), a State shall submit each of the following:

          (i) A summary description of its Brownfields Redevelopment Plan.

          (ii) A detailed description of its site cleanup program component, including the nature and extent of technical assistance being provided to municipalities on property/site cleanup.

          (iii) A detailed description of the technical assistance for development of the public health assessment plan.

        (C) LOCAL MATCH- The municipality shall match the State loan amount on a dollar for dollar basis, or greater.

        (D) LOAN AMOUNTS- The loan amount awarded to a municipality shall not exceed the maximum amount of $500,000.

TITLE II--TAX INCENTIVE FOR THE ASSESSMENT, CLEANUP, AND BROWNFIELDS PROPERTY/SITE ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT

SEC. 201. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) gaps in total project costs between the redevelopment of brownfields properties and the development of greenfield properties, caused mainly by the need for environmental assessment and cleanup of brownfields properties before development, are primary deterrents to property/site reclamation and reuse; and

      (2) there is a need for a Federal program to provide an incentive spurring private reinvestment in the reclamation and reuse of brownfields.

SEC. 202. DEFINITION.

    As used in this title the term ‘total project costs’ is defined as consisting of all costs paid by the owner or developer that are related to property/site assessment, cleanup, and project development.

SEC. 203. FEDERAL TAX INCENTIVE.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall work with the Comptroller of the Currency to revise the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Credit to include giving credit to banks who provide loans for the assessment, cleanup or redevelopment of brownfields properties/sites.

    (b) PURPOSE- The tax incentive allows the use of the tax code to encourage property/site reuse by permitting certain remediation costs to be deductible, if incurred with respect to a qualified site, up to the amount of deductions taken with respect to the property; and environmental cleanup expenses would not be subject to deduction recapture as ordinary income, but such expenditure shall be treated as a deduction for depreciation.

    (c) ALLOCATION OF FEDERAL TAX INCENTIVES- The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall allocate tax incentives made available to this title among the States with voluntary cleanup programs. In allocating the tax incentives, the Administrator shall take into account:

      (1) The relative number of non-National Priority List brownfields properties/sites in the State, with added emphasis on properties located in distressed communities.

      (2) The relative commitment of the State and local municipal governments to support the reclamation and reuse of nonpriority list brownfields properties.

      (3) Evidence of a commitment by the private sector to redevelopment in distressed communities.

    (d) COMPETITIVE SELECTION PROCEDURE- Suballocation of Federal tax incentives by State voluntary cleanup programs to developers (or investor pools) shall be made on the basis of an open and selective competitive selection procedure administered by the State.

    (e) MAXIMUM AWARD OF TAX INCENTIVES- The maximum amount of tax incentives awarded to a brownfields property/site owner/developer will be limited to 50 percent or less of the total project costs, and no more than the difference between total project costs of the brownfields property/site and comparable costs for a

greenfield property/site located at the market periphery (or a clean property/site within the same jurisdiction as the brownfields site) as determined by the State administering agency in consultation with the owner/developer of the brownfields property/site.

    (f) STATE TAX INCENTIVES- Participating States may offer complementary tax incentives for property/site remediation and reuse.

TITLE III--LIMITING OUT-YEAR ENVIRONMENTAL RISK LIABILITY

SEC. 301. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) the burdens associated with the risks of out-year environmental liability is a factor that deters the development of brownfields properties/sites. The risks and benefits of brownfields development must be balanced between the citizens of the affected community, developers, lenders, and insurers; and

      (2) there is a need to substantially reduce the risks associated with the development of brownfields properties for all constituencies (citizens in the affected communities, owners, developers, lenders, and insurers) (relating to out-year environmental costs).

SEC. 302. DEFINITION.

    As used in this title, the term ‘out-year environmental risk liability’ means liability regarding an environmental or public health hazard not discovered during property/site cleanup assessment or cleanup of a brownfields property/site.

SEC. 303. SCOPE OF PROGRAM.

    (a) PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER AGREEMENT- In the case of a prospective purchaser of a brownfields property/site, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency may consider a prospective purchaser agreement which releases the prospective purchaser from liability to the United States, when appropriate and if there are substantial benefits to the government and the community (such as through job creation or productive use of the abandoned property) and if the prospective purchaser satisfies other criteria (such as (1) an EPA action at the facility has been taken, is ongoing, or is anticipated to be undertaken by the Agency, (2) the Agency should receive a substantial benefit either in the form of a direct benefit for cleanup, or as an indirect public benefit in combination with a reduced direct benefit to EPA, (3) the continued operation of the facility or new property/site development, with the exercise of due care, will not aggravate or contribute to the existing contamination or interfere with EPA’s response action, (4) the continued operation or new development of the property will not pose health risks to the community and those persons likely to be present at the property/site, and (5) the prospective purchaser is financially viable).

    (b) INSURANCE MECHANISMS- The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall work with the private insurance industry to determine the feasibility of three basic insurance mechanisms for addressing the issue of out-year environmental risk liability--

      (1) a wholly private insurance program;

      (2) a Federal insurance program; or

      (3) a joint insurance program involving risks shared between the two parties;

    and make a recommendation to the Administrator, including in the case that either a program under paragraph (2) or (3) is selected, a recommended amount of capitalization required to create the insurance program, and including any other recommendations, as appropriate. The Administrator shall recognize State, local, and tribe land use controls, such as zoning ordinances or deed restrictions, as means to ensure future property/site control and limit the potential for future environmental contamination.

TITLE IV--ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND CLEANUP RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND DEPLOYMENT

SEC. 401. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) the costs and time associated with brownfields property/site assessment, and property/site cleanup are major deterrents to reclamation, redevelopment, and reuse; and

      (2) there is a need for the Federal Government to fund innovative approaches to public health assessment, property/site inspection, and cleanup which drives down costs and expedites assessment and cleanup.

SEC. 402. SCOPE OF PROGRAM.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall make project grants available to local technology centers and universities to research, develop, and deploy innovative property/site assessment, public health assessment, and cleanup technologies, procedures, and related information.

    (b) GRANT APPLICATION- The grant application will conform with criteria established by the Administrator.

    (c) GRANT AWARDS- The maximum award shall be $250,000.

TITLE V--ENCOURAGING PUBLIC-PRIVATE-COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

SEC. 501. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) many brownfields properties/sites exist in areas characterized by physical decline, high unemployment and poverty rates, and low educational attainment;

      (2) in terms of benefits, brownfields cleanup immediately improves health and quality of life to the extent that environmental hazards are removed;

      (3) residents surrounding brownfields properties both directly (e.g., from employment and entrepreneurial opportunities) and indirectly (from increased city revenues supporting neighborhood services); and

      (4) the Federal Government should encourage and support public-private-community partnerships in the assessment, cleanup, redevelopment, and reuse of brownfields properties.

SEC. 502. DEFINITION.

    As used in this title, the term ‘public-private-community partnerships’ means partnerships undertaken between layers of Government, private and nonprofit entities, and community organizations involved in some aspect of brownfields planning, assessment, reclamation, and reuse.

SEC. 503. SCOPE OF PROGRAM.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The Administrator shall--

      (1) require community consultation, including households and business owners from the immediate neighborhood, local health authorities, on the extent of required cleanup in relationship to ultimate reuse and reuse impact on the neighborhood and larger community;

      (2) sustain and/or expand Federal funding for training for property/site environmental assessment and cleanup; these programs provide job training and employment opportunities for core area residents;

      (3) sustain and/or expand Federal funding for technical assistance and research in brownfields cleanup and redevelopment strategies, including technical assistance in packaging project financing; and

      (4) shall assist the Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, to provide technical assistance for public health assessments to local health authorities and community-based organizations.

    (b) GRANT AWARDS AND SELECTION CRITERIA- (1) To support activity under subsection (a)(2), the Administrator shall make up to 20 grants on an annual basis to 501(c)(3) organizations and private sector organizations, with a maximum grant per award of $150,000, for up to 3 years. Selection criteria for evaluating grant applications are--

      (A) quality of proposed training; and

      (B) training experience of grantees with local community residents living near brownfields properties.

    (2) To support activity under subsection (a)(3), $1,000,000 in additional appropriations is authorized to support the work of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Finance Centers for each year between 1998 and 2002.

TITLE VI--ANNUAL PROGRAM EVALUATION

SEC. 601. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) there is a need to evaluate the Act’s provisions on an annual basis; and

      (2) to fully review and provide an annual report on the Act’s implementation.

SEC. 602. SUNSET PROVISION.

    The provisions of this Act shall cease to have any force and effect on the date 5 years after enactment.

SEC. 603. SCOPE OF ANNUAL EVALUATION.

    The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall provide a written report to Congress which describes program activity during each year, including the identification of major achievements of programs established under this Act affecting Federal, State, or local performance.

SEC. 604. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

    The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall submit reports evaluating the impact and cost-effectiveness of the provisions of this Act for which they are responsible 180 days before the sunset date set forth in section 602.