Friday, November 8, 2013
LGEAN Update is a biweekly newsletter published by the International City/County Management Association. Its purpose is to keep you up to date on the latest environmental information of interest to local governments.
EPA Awards $400,000 to Communities to Reduce Water Pollution, Build Resilience to Climate Change / Communities in Rhode Island, Michigan, Nebraska, Indiana, Arizona, and South Carolina will receive funding for green infrastructure
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $400,000 to help six communities expand their use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change. The funding is in support of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to identify climate-resilient investments such as agency grants and technical assistance for communities across the country. "Investing in green infrastructure pays off for our environment and our economy. It reduces water pollution and energy consumption. It creates jobs and boosts local economic activity," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "And these investments help local communities build resilient systems to protect from severe storms, floods, and other impacts of climate change." Read the full story.
Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management
This Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management (Guidebook) is an important part of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011 to jointly support a series of activities to help rural and small water and wastewater systems address various issues and more effectively provide sustainable services to the communities they support. As part of this MOA, EPA and USDA hosted a series of four, day-long pilot workshops, which included participants from over 60 rural and small water providers, in cooperation with local sponsors dedicated to small water and wastewater system management. The first workshop was held in Acme, Michigan, in cooperation with the Michigan Rural Water Association, the second in Santa Cruz, California, in cooperation with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, the third in Helena, Georgia, with the Georgia Rural Water Association, and the fourth in Nashville, Tennessee, with the United South & Eastern Tribes. Access the guidebook.
Report - Resilient Against What?: How Leading U.S. Municipalities Are Understanding and Acting on Resilience
Monday, October 28, 2013-- Resilience is often understood simply as the ability to bounce back from a single disaster like a hurricane or earthquake. This survey commissioned by Post Carbon Institute found that leading US municipalities already have a much more sophisticated understanding of resilience involving economic, energy, and social challenges and they're putting it into action through policies, regulations, and programs. Read the report.
FUNDING AND OPPORTUNITIES
DOE Announces Webinars on Tribal Renewable Energy Case Studies and Energy Efficiency Competitions
EERE offers webinars to the public on a range of subjects, from adopting the latest energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to training for the clean energy workforce. Webinars are free; however, advanced registration is typically required. You can also watch archived webinars and browse previously aired videos, slides, and transcripts. Learn more.
Energy Star Training Opportunities
Winter is just around the corner, but that doesn't mean you have to work in a freezing office or classroom! Join ENERGY STAR to learn how you can heat, light, and operate your buildings efficiently during the cold winter months. Don't just hibernate this winter - improve energy performance, save money, and protect the environment! For more information.
Students Push for Sustainable Food
Minnesota - Students from around the country gathered at TCF Bank Stadium this weekend to share ideas about food sustainability. The students are continuing to push their schools to improve food sustainability by committing to the Real Food Challenge's goal of 20 percent real food by 2020. Read the full story.
Construction to Begin on Everglades Water Quality Improvement Project
The South Florida Water Management District approved a contract to start construction on a key project in the state's Restoration Strategies plan to clean water for Americas Everglades. This is an important step for the Everglades, as science and planning become a working construction project for achieving water quality goals, said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Daniel O'Keefe. Building this expansive storage site will significantly improve our ability to remove nutrients and further improve Florida's famed River of Grass. Design is complete and all necessary permits have been obtained so that Central Florida Equipment Rentals, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, can begin construction work with the approved investment of $59.9 million. Read more.
Launch of Chicago Solar Express to Drive Solar Development and Create Green Jobs
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Environmental Law and Policy Center and West Monroe Partners announced today the launch of Chicago Solar Express, a streamlined and progressive permitting, zoning and interconnection process established for residents and developers seeking to place solar installations on residential and commercial projects. This project will help transform Chicago into a national leader in rooftop solar panels. These improvements will slash wait times for solar permits for small installations from 30 days to one day, cut fees by 25 percent and simplify and streamline key processes. The City of Chicago and its partners developed these reforms with the assistance of a $750,000 SunShotgrant received from the Department of Energy (DOE). More about the Chicago Solar Express.
Developing Bike-Share and Car-Share Programs to Reduce VMTs
Matt Sandstrom, business development manager for the Clean Energy Coalition in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Stratis Giannakouros, assistant director of the Center for Sustainable Communities in Decorah, Iowa, both work in what could be termed small towns, although Ann Arbor's population is about 115,000 while Decorah's is just 8,000. Both are making investments in improving green transportation options for their residents and visitors. Learn about the bike and car share programs.
Hawaii - A greener, more sustainable county
The county's sustainability program continues to evolve and improve. In the first program year (2012), the county developed a carbon emissions profile for baseline year 2007 and then created an Operations Sustainability and Climate Action Plan in 2013 as a guide for implementing projects and initiatives. The plan was crafted to be a living document kept in a working draft format that can be revised and improved over time. Better metrics are envisioned to lead to opportunities to become more sustainable by tracking progress, following the adage that you can't improve what you can't measure. The county's efforts to becoming more sustainable include specific emphasis on energy efficiency; use of renewable energy; traveling/driving less and driving cleaner; saving water; recycling and cutting waste and buying greener and more environmentally friendly products. Read more about Hawaii's sustainability.
New England Experienced Fewer Unhealthy Air Quality Days During Summer Ozone Season
Matching a long-term trend that air quality is improving, New Englanders experienced a decrease in the number of unhealthy air quality days this year, compared to 2012. The findings are based on preliminary data collected between April and Sept. 2013. Air quality monitors recorded 20 days when ozone levels in New England exceeded levels considered healthy. In 2012 there were a total of 29 unhealthy ozone days. The trend in unhealthful days over the past 30 years is substantially downward. The downward trend is due to reduction in the emissions that form ozone. See the full story.
Energy Department Announces $27 Million for Grid Technologies
Deputy Director Cheryl Martin announced $27 million in funding from the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy for 14 projects aimed at developing next-generation power conversion devices that could dramatically transform how power is controlled and converted throughout the grid. The projects selected under ARPA-E's SWITCHES program, short for Strategies for Wide-Bandgap, Inexpensive Transistors for Controlling High-Efficiency Systems, aim to find innovative ways to lower the cost and improve the efficiency of power electronics. Read more about the funding.
The Rise of the Bicycle-Friendly Suburb
Welcoming bicycles to the streets isn't just an urban thing anymore. Increasingly, according to the new rankings of "Bicycle Friendly Communities" released by the League of American Bicyclists this week, suburbs are getting in on the act. Places like Elmhurst, Illinois; Riverside, California; Montclair, New Jersey; and Dublin, Ohio; are among the 32 municipalities making LAB's list for the first time this year. The list, which ranks towns and cities in a four-tier system from bronze up to platinum, was inaugurated in 2003. It now includes 291 towns and cities in 48 states. For more information.
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