Brown and brownfields


Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) is proposing useful legislation that would modernize and improve key elements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program by providing new tools and resources to local communities.

Brownfields are abandoned or idled parcels of industrial or commercial land, usually where there has been demolition, that can be reused. Cleanup is not easy, but the effort yields usable space.

Senator Brown’s bill would make nonprofit organizations eligible for more grants, It would help communities, especially rural ones, by streamlining the cleanup process. It includes special aid for low-income communities.

There are more than 250 registered brownfield sites in Ohio. The former sites of Toledo’s North Towne Square Mall, the old Jeep plant, the downtown steam plant, and the former Electric Autolite factory could benefit from Mr. Brown’s legislation.

The average brownfields cleanup in Ohio costs $600,000. Senator Brown’s measure could work in tandem with the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Fund, which leverages investment through redevelopment of commercial and industrial properties. It’s worth doing.