Idaho Senator Crapo Suggests Exception to Federal Spending Cuts

By Tom Bacon

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo generally believes federal spending should be sharply cut. But there's an exception to his philosophy.

Crapo and other senatorial Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, want to extend the EPA's Brownfields Program and to maintain funding at current levels.

The Brownfields Program is an effort to clean up polluted industrial sites so they can be re-developed with new businesses or parks or even residential communities.

Since inception of the Brownfields Program, the EPA has handed out more than one-and-a-half billion dollars in grants, which Crapo said have leveraged another 19-billion dollars-plus in additional investment. He said the program has cleaned up more than 20-thousand abandoned, polluted properties around the country and created tens of thousands of new jobs.

Crapo said Idaho alone has 224 eligible sites in every part of the state. He said his bill to reauthorize and fund the program will increase the limits for cleanup grants, and would provide help for small, rural counties and communities to go after funding.

His bill is endorsed by Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the most conservative members of the body, and by Democrats Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Tom Udall of New Mexico.
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