Bush Signs Brownfields Legislation, Appoints Scalia Labor Solicitor

Conshohocken, Pa. -- During his visit to Pennsylvania today, President George W. Bush signed brownfields legislation, H.R. 2869, that will double spending next year to clean up contaminated sites across the country.

The administration's budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 sought $102 million more than the $98 million Congress appropriated this year for cleaning up brownfields sites. In December, Congress also approved a five-year program that awards up to $250 million per year to state and local governments and Indian tribes for cleaning up an estimated 450,000 polluted industrial sites, including $50 million annually for administrative costs.

So far this year, the government has distributed $2 million of the available $98 million. Ten recipients have received $200,000 each for a brownfields job training pilot program.

Bush also signed a recess appointment for conservative Eugene Scalia, son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to serve as Labor Department solicitor. Scalia's nomination had been blocked by Senate Democrats last year; however, it was approved 11-10 on Oct. 16 by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee but never received a floor vote.