Eben noted that cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields sites has long been a priority of the AIA and should be a vital concern to Congress. "Bringing these contaminated sites back to life through brownfields redevelopment is imperative to restoring America's cities," Eben testified. "Across America, brownfield sites blight neighborhoods that are in desperate need of redevelopment. Cleaning up and developing these sites will create jobs, extend environmental protection for citizens, revitalize neighborhoods, and increase the local tax base."
Today's hearing marked the start of Congress' first attempt since 2006 to reauthorize the EPA brownfields program. This program provides grant money to state and local governments for the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields sites. As the EPA estimates that there are 400,000 to 1 million brownfields sites throughout the nation, Eben recommended that Congress increase the annual funding level for the program so that communities have more resources available to being the process of cleaning up these contaminated sites.
Eben also urged the committee to give funding priority to projects that include green building design and energy efficiency. "As most brownfield redevelopment projects will require a major renovation of buildings on site, it makes sense that these buildings be designed in an intelligent, energy-efficient way. Energy efficiency and green building standards should be a factor in determining which grant applicant receives funding. Once the brownfield site is cleaned up, it is counterproductive to then build an energy-guzzling building on that very same site, especially when the costs of building green are often negligible."
Have you found courses to enhance your understanding of Brownfields legislation? If you were to design a course, which would increase your understanding of Brownfields legislation and action, what would be key points discussed?