Pryor, Snowe Introduce Legislation to Benefit America's Defense Communities
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today introduced critical legislation to assist America's base communities during these trying economic times. The Defense Communities Assistance Act of 2009 will provide immediate benefits to all base communities across the country, including those recovering from a closure or accommodating growth associated with service personnel influxes.
"As base communities nationwide struggle with a host of issues - from the tumultuous economy, to closures as a result of the latest BRAC round, to an influx in service personnel - the Federal government must increase assistance to all base communities to effectively implement various initiatives of the Department of Defense and to spur economic growth," said Senator Snowe, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "This bill seeks to accomplish that goal byproviding immediate benefits to all base communities, for both closed and active military installations across the country."
"This legislation is a win-win for base communities trying to overcome the bureaucratic barriers that stand in the way of an economic recovery," Senator Pryor said. "Senator Snowe's common-sense approach will create meaningful jobs and reinvestment for the hundreds of communities that have been adversely affected by BRAC closures or downsizings, and it will go a long way to improve the standard of living for families living on active military installations."
The Defense Communities Assistance Act of 2009 contains provisions that:
* Grant permanent authority to convey property at military installations to support military construction and agreements to limit encroachment;
* Extend military departments' authority to purchase, from a county municipal government or other local government, municipal services for military installations in the U.S.;
* Allow for and clarify reimbursable activities under the Defense-State Memorandum of Agreement program;
* Strengthen provisions that protect parties involved in base redevelopment from liability for undiscovered pre-existing pollution conditions at closed military installations; and
* Encourage no-cost economic development conveyances for bases shuttered during the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
The legislation is supported by the Association of Defense Communities.