Tag Archives: Smart Growth

10/7/2011 EPA Commits $1.5 Million to 125 Communities to Support Smart Growth Efforts will create healthy neighborhoods, attract local businesses

10/7/2011 EPA Commits $1.5 Million to 125 Communities to Support Smart Growth Efforts will create healthy neighborhoods, attract local businesses: WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans today to help an estimated 125 local, state, and tribal governments create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. The move comes in response to the high demand for tools to foster environmentally and economically sustainable development coming from various communities around the nation.
“EPA is working to support communities in their efforts to protect health and the environment, and create more sustainable housing and transportation choices that are the foundation for a strong economy,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA experts will work side by side with urban, suburban, and rural communities, and help them develop the necessary tools for fostering healthier environments for families and children, and attractive places for growing businesses.”
EPA’s commitment of more than $1.5 million will come through two separate programs – the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program (SGIA) and the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. Both programs will be accepting letters from interested communities from Sept. 28 to Oct. 28, 2011.
The SGIA program, which EPA has offered since 2005, employs contractor assistance to focus on complex and cutting-edge issues in sustainable development. The assistance allows communities to explore innovative ideas to overcome barriers that have prevented them from getting the kind of development they want. Potential topics include helping communities figure out how to develop in ways that make them more resilient to natural hazards, increase economic growth, and use locally generated energy. The Agency anticipates selecting three to four communities for assistance with the goal of creating models that can help other communities.
The Building Blocks program provides targeted technical assistance to communities that face common development problems. It employs a variety of tools such as improving pedestrian access and safety, zoning code reviews, and housing and transportation evaluations. Assistance will be provided in two ways in the coming year. First, EPA will select up to 50 communities and provide direct assistance by EPA staff and private sector experts. Second, EPA has awarded cooperative agreements to four non-government organizations with sustainable community expertise to deliver technical assistance. The organizations include the Cascade Land Conservancy, Global Green USA, Project for Public Spaces, and Smart Growth America.
The Building Blocks and the SGIA programs assist in the work of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. These agencies share a common goal of coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.
More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov
More information on the Building Blocks program and the request for letters of interest: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm
More information on the SGIA program and the request for letters of interest: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm
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7/29/2011 NRDC Blog: With Media, Americans Focused on Debt Drama, Congress Attacks Environment

7/29/2011 NRDC: With Media, Americans Focused on Debt Drama, Congress Attacks Environment: Bob Keefe blog: It’s tough getting any news out of Washington these days that doesn’t involve the debt ceiling. Understandably, the political firestorm that has led our country to the brink of financial default has dominated headlines. With Washington and the world focused on the debt ceiling drama, hard-right House Republicans have launched the biggest congressional assault on the environment in history, attacking our fundamental environmental and public health protections in order to appease Tea Party ideologues and big business donors.

Weekends also find fewer Americans paying attention to what’s happening in Washington. And this weekend, the GOP-led House will take an unusual step and remain in session so they can take up more of the nearly 40 anti-environmental “riders” Republicans have attached to the Interior/EPA appropriations bill.

While you’re hopefully off enjoying the Great Outdoors, House Republicans will be pushing legislation that promises to destroy it.

Under GOP plans, coal mines will be able to dump more debris in our rivers and streams. Power plants and cement kilns will be able to pump more pollution into our air. And lands near the Grand Canyon could be opened for uranium mining.

Fortunately, the media is beginning to realize the unprecedented damage these anti-environmental riders could do to our environment and to America as we know it.

Leslie Kaufman of The New York Times picked up on the story Thursday.

“With the nation’s attention diverted by the drama over the debt ceiling, Republicans in the House of Representatives are loading up an appropriations bill 39 ways — and counting — to significantly curtail environmental regulation,” she points out.

The Washington Post’s Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin meanwhile, just logged in here.

In the Grand Canyon State, the Arizona Republic weighed in with one of the best editorials I’ve seen on what’s at stake.

“This bill does much more than just spread the pain of inevitable budget cuts,” the Republic writes. “It imposes changes that will undo things the American people want done. This is at odds with this nation’s commitment to preserving its astonishingly rich natural heritage.”

In Ohio, where the Cuyahoga River once caught on fire before we had the Clean Water Act that we (at least for now) still have, the Toledo Blade has describes the state of our the environment and our public health simply but succinctly: “Under Seige”

The debt ceiling and the separate deficit debate will likely be front page news for a while. Rightfully so.

But it’s important to look behind the top headlines of the day to see what our elected officials are doing when our attention is diverted.

Fortunately, the press is starting to make it clear what out-of-touch House members are doing to our environment and public health protections.

Hopefully, we’ll all pay attention.