At the state and federal level, numerous new programs have been proposed or initiated, and a variety of new laws have been passed in an effort to spur the development of “Brownfields,” or former industrial sites, primarily clustered in and around older urban areas, which are environmentally contaminated, abandoned, or underutilized. Brownfields programs and laws seek to encourage the cleanup of these contaminated sites and their subsequent development in order to revitalize America’s many troubled and underutilized urban areas. Many Brownfields are found in predominantly low income and minority neighborhoods which lack both employment opportunities and safe public spaces
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs strongly supports responsible Brownfields legislation and programs that will create incentives for the development of former industrial sites by providing proper and manageable flexibility in remediation, while assuring the long term protection of human health, the integrity of usable environmental resources, and the meaningful participation of all affected local community groups in cleanup and redevelopment decisions. The JCPA believes that Brownfields legislation that requires full protection of public health and the environment for the surrounding communities is an important tool for improving the economy of former industrial areas, facilitating the clean-up of contaminated industrial sites, creating jobs and conserving existing open space and unspoiled areas. The JCPA supports carefully formulated Brownfields laws that encourage and create incentives for responsible development while assuring the environmental and health related protections that must be the cornerstone of any environmental legislation or regulation.