Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg Bill Would Spur Clean Energy Development on Brownfield Sites
'Cleanfields' Bill Supported by U.S. Conference of MayorsLautenberg Press Office (202) 224-3224
Thursday, May 06, 2010WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, today introduced legislation to incentivize the development of clean energy projects on contaminated brownfield sites. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 4,100 brownfield sites across the country hold real potential for renewable resource development.
“Placing wind farms, solar panels, and other renewable energy projects on brownfield sites is a win-win for local communities and the environment,” Lautenberg said. “Thousands of contaminated sites across the country are dragging down property values and creating health risks for residents. By incentivizing clean energy projects on brownfields, we can create new jobs, reduce the use of dirty fossil fuels, and lift up our neighborhoods.”
“We have only scratched the surface on redeveloping brownfield sites across the United States,” stated Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Co-Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Brownfields Task Force. “Senator Lautenberg’s legislation will provide a huge incentive to make brownfield sites more attractive for investment and job creation.”
“Trenton is a national leader in brownfield remediation – and our partnerships at all levels of government, the community, and in the private sector are many years in the making. But we can further strengthen these partnerships. Senator Lautenberg’s ‘Cleanfields’ legislation will spur redevelopment of brownfield sites – and create new business and job development in Trenton and other cities throughout the United States,” stated Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, Past President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “It will be a win for businesses, a win for the environment, and a win towards energy independence.”
The “Cleanfields Act of 2010” would encourage utilities to meet proposed renewable electricity mandates by building wind, solar, and geothermal facilities on former industrial sites instead of open spaces and sensitive lands. The bill provides triple credits toward meeting a national Renewable Electricity Standard for electricity produced on brownfield sites. A nationwide Renewable Electricity Standard requiring states to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources was included as part of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA), approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June 2009.
According to a recent Northeast-Midwest Institute report, only 1.4 percent of brownfield sites are remediated each year. And in recent years, there has been increasing concern about placing clean energy projects on nature preserves or other ecologically sensitive areas. The Cleanfields Act addresses both issues by offering much-needed sites for clean energy development, while increasing the rate of toxic cleanup.
The “Cleanfields Act” is co-sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The legislation is supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Wilderness Society. A copy of their support letter can be viewed here: http://lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/CleanfieldsAct_Support.pdf
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