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Webinar Recap

Conversations on the State of the Redevelopment Field

On December 16th, the National Brownfields Coalition was honored to present an engaging pre-recorded conversation with Representative Dan Kildee from Michigan’s 5th District around the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and new opportunities for brownfield communities. Rep. Kildee has been instrumental in advancing brownfield priorities both at the state and federal levels by serving in the prestigious Ways and Means Committee and as Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. He also founded Michigan’s first land bank which invested millions of dollars in Flint and served as a land bank model for communities across the country.

National brownfields leader Mary Hashem kicked the session off with powerful remarks to frame the exciting federal funding opportunities addressed throughout the webinar: “Brownfields is one of the ultimate bipartisan issues facing us today and I think that our current legislature is rising to the challenge.” 

As Rep. Kildee highlighted in his recorded conversation with the Coalition, “brownfield issues know no boundaries or partisanship.” The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law takes a big step towards tackling pollution issues by significantly increasing funding for brownfield cleanup, superfund cleanup and assessment, the reinstatement of the superfund tax to discourage the use of these dangerous pollutants, and much more.

In passing this law and pursuing other federal legislation like the Build Back Better Act, brownfield champions in Congress seek to prioritize the deployment of federal resources in the nation’s most distressed and chronically disinvested communities instead of those that are already well-positioned to receive private investment. Rep. Kildee  offered practical solutions to direct federal resources to historically disinvested communities –including reinforcing the connection between brownfields and land banks– and provided closing remarks by pointing out that policy should seek "the most optimal return for these most distressed environmental justice challenged communities and that means advance funding of brownfield redevelopment in the most distressed, least likely to be developed places.” 

“In the past, when the federal government steps in to provide resources to support redevelopment … it typically ends up rewarding the communities that have the highest capacity, the strongest private sector investment …  The goal here and the way we have spent this money is for disproportionately support those places that are ... chronically distressed.”

- Representative Dan Kildee, Michigan's 5th District

Following Congressman Kildee’s remarks, Lee Ilan from NYC Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation and Chair of NBC’s Membership and Communications Committee shared insights on NBC’s ongoing work supporting the renewal of the Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Incentive and reinforced Rep. Kildee’s assertion that contaminated land is a problem in all types of communities and should be addressed as an equity issue. 

Michael Goldstein from the Goldstein Environmental Law Firm, LLC echoed Rep. Kildee’s sense of urgency around neglected brownfield sites across the country and shared how NBC’s Public Policy, Redevelopment Incentives, and Regulatory Partnerships (PPRIRP) Committee has been supporting the movement by working on legislation proposals for new streams of federal funding for brownfield remediation. These efforts involve recently presenting the Coalition’s policy initiatives and priorities in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment including the federal income tax deduction; increasing low-income housing tax credit percentages; the enactment of a new federal loan guarantee program; and a new “New Markets Tax Credits for High-Distressed Long-Term Redevelopment of Brownfield Sites” program.

“We should use public dollars for those that need support on clean-up, either with public dollars for remediation or through the negative impacts on communities … This has to mean both the smaller communities that have experienced disinvestment as well as neighborhoods within larger cities that suffer from racial inequity, poor health, and threats of gentrification.”

- Lee Ilan, NYC Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation


Join the movement as a member of the Coalition

There has never been a better time to be part of the National Brownfields Coalition. NBC provides a hub for advocates to incubate policy initiatives that will move the needle in the federal brownfields policy space. We encourage all our viewers to consider becoming a part of the movement and help us realize significant gains in legislation, appropriations and policies that revitalize our communities through land reuse. NBC membership at any level offers the opportunity to participate in our five active committees working to achieve our brownfields goals.

*NBC is committed to reducing barriers to participation for all potential coalition members and offers terms commensurate with resources available for community-based organizations, government agencies and non-profit organizations.


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About the National Brownfields Coalition

The National Brownfields Coalition works to ensure the responsible cleanup and reuse of underutilized, blighted, or environmentally impacted land. A program of Smart Growth America and the Center for Creative Land Recycling.

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