Today, state Senator Sandra R. Williams (D-Cleveland) announced the passage of Senate Bill 83, legislation to require the Ohio EPA to study and determine the location of brownfield sites in Ohio and appropriate funding for a centralized, statewide database.
“Ohio has a number of abandoned and unaddressed brownfield spaces,” Williams said. “Many of these sites create barriers between neighborhoods, stifling economic investment, blemishing the beauty of our communities and contributing to dangerous environmental injustices.”
A brownfield site is an abandoned, idled or under-used industrial, commercial or institutional property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by known or potential releases of hazardous substances or petroleum. Currently, state and federal inventories of brownfield sites primarily rely on voluntary reporting through programs such as the Voluntary Action Program, the Ohio Site Inventory Program and the Clean Ohio Fund, which received its last round of grants in 2013. Cleaning up and reinvesting in brownfield properties increases local tax bases, aides in job growth, and both improves and protects the environment. According to the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Ohio could have over 9,000 former industrial and commercial sites that could be repurposed.
“This legislation is important because it creates a centralized, statewide inventory with all of the necessary information that developers and local governments may need when considering repurposing brownfield sites,” Williams said. “Passing with bipartisan support shows that Ohio is ready to clean up and reuse brownfields to create environmental, economic and social benefits for our communities.”
Senate Bill 83 now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives for consideration.