Lawmakers in Washington advanced a bill this week that could help communities throughout the region leverage more funds to clean up abandoned industrial sites.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill drafted and sponsored by West Virginia's Representative David McKinley to improve the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program, which provides resources to clean up and redevelop contaminated industrial sites.
The proposed legislation passed through the House committee with bipartisan support. It would reauthorize the program for the first time since 2006 and make some reforms. The bill would provide communities and non-profits trying to clean up sites more flexibility, and increase remediation grant limits from 200 thousand to 500 thousand dollars. McKinley says the bill is an important step in addressing hundreds of abandoned sites throughout the region that cannot be developed or reused until they're clean.