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Massachusetts Tops California as Most Energy-Efficient State on Energy Efficiency Scorecard
Thursday, October 30, 2014-- Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island (marking the states first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10). -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network/ACEEE]

Department of Energy Joins States to Celebrate National Weatherization Day
Thursday, October 30, 2014-- Several states across the country are joining the Department of Energy to celebrate National Weatherization Day. Observed each October 30, National Weatherization Day is a chance to highlight the important work performed by the Energy Departments Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) network over the last 40 years. Through WAP, the Energy Department provides funding to states, territories and tribal governments to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. These governments fund a network of local community action agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide weatherization services for those in need using leading technologies and testing protocols. -- (full text)

Request for Nominations to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC): Deadline Extended
Monday, October 27, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). The NEJAC was chartered to provide advice regarding broad, crosscutting issues related to environmental justice. This notice solicits nominations to fill approximately eight (8) vacancies for terms through September 2017. To maintain the representation outlined by the charter, nominees will be selected to represent: Academia; grassroots community-based organizations; non-governmental environmental organizations; local governments; business and industry; and tribal government and indigenous organizations. The Office of Environmental Justice will acknowledge receipt of nominations. The deadline for submitting nominations has been extended until November 22, 2014. -- (full text)

Brownfields National Training Conference - Call for Ideas Announced
Thursday, October 23, 2014-- The Brownfields 2015 Call for Ideas is open until November 3, 2014! Your ideas for interactive, insightful, and engaging educational sessions are being sought for Brownfields 2015. Submit your ideas for educational sessions tailored to encourage conversations and participation from attendees. -- (full text)

EPA Releases Guidance to Improve Schools' Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency
Wednesday, October 22, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new guidance to help school districts protect indoor air quality while increasing energy efficiency during school renovations. "This guidance provides common-sense solutions for improving energy efficiency and indoor air quality in schools across the country," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "By using these guidelines, school districts can cut their energy bills and help ensure that students have a healthy and safe learning environment." The practices outlined in the new guidance support schools as healthy, energy-efficient buildings that play a significant role in local communities. Nearly 55 million elementary and secondary students occupy our schools, as well as 7 million teachers, faculty and staff. In addition, many communities use school buildings after regular school hours as after-care facilities, recreation centers, meeting places and emergency shelters during natural disasters. -- (full text)

U.S. Water Systems, Deteriorated and Slow to Change, Need New Strategy  And Money
Friday, October 17, 2014-- The venerable water utilities of the United States, the essential guardians of public health and enablers of economic growth for more than two centuries, are showing signs of significant wear. A striking new report from the Johnson Foundation, arguably the most thorough and candid assessment of the condition of Americas largely publicly-owned water transport, supply, and treatment industry, asserts that American cities and their residents could face water cuts and unreliable service if utilities do not modernize and reinvest. -- (full text)
[Circle of Blue]

Assistance to Communities for Integrated Planning of Stormwater and Wastewater Projects
Wednesday, October 15, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided $335,000 in technical assistance to five communities to help them develop components of integrated plans for wastewater and stormwater management. "EPA is committed to helping communities meet their requirements and goals for water projects that benefit public health, the environment, and the local economy," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Integrated planning provides the important flexibility that cities and towns need to address water challenges in an efficient and effective manner." The projects will also provide useful information and transferable tools for other communities interested in integrated planning. -- (full text)

Department Issues Green Building Certification System Final Rule
Tuesday, October 14, 2014-- Supporting the Obama Administrations goal to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment, the Energy Department is pursuing a suite of initiatives to strengthen federal energy management through increased focus on measurement of energy use in federal buildings and energy efficient building design. Principal among the efforts is the Departments issuance of a final rule that requires verified energy and water performance for new and retrofitted federal buildings that are certified by private sector green building certification systems. The rule, which goes into effect Nov. 13, ensures that in cases where agencies choose to use green building certification systems to meet federal sustainability and energy standards, they must choose a system that verifies enhanced energy and water efficiency. By requiring re-assessments at least every four years, the rule will ensure energy and water savings continue well beyond the initial building opening or retrofit. System requirements for the verification of energy and water performance in new construction and major renovations will lead to reduced consumption through active energy and water management. -- (full text)

New EPA Green Infrastructure Collaborative
Monday, October 13, 2014-- On October 8th, 2014 EPA joined with federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector entities to form the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, a network to help communities more easily implement green infrastructure. The Collaborative released a Statement of Support outlining commitments from members to advance coordination around green infrastructure initiatives. The Collaborative will build capacity for green infrastructure implementation by providing a platform for national stakeholders. Seven federal agencies have come together to support the Green Infrastructure Collaborative. The cooperating agencies are EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy. -- (full text)

Affordable Green Neighborhood Grant Recipients Announced
Thursday, October 09, 2014-- The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced the 11 projects selected for the 2014 Affordable Green Neighborhoods (AGN) grant program. Each of these neighborhood redevelopment projects are pursuing certification under USGBCs LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system and are notable for their planned affordable housing, compact design, commitment to green building and sites located near transit or other existing amenities. -- (full text)

New Green Infrastructure Guide to Help Address Complex Challenges of Water Management
Tuesday, September 30, 2014-- The Green Infrastructure Guide for Water Management responds to the increasing recognition that GI represents an important opportunity to address the complex challenges of water management. The publication makes clear that increased efforts to work with GI solutions in water management can result in viable and cost-effective alternatives to grey water infrastructure, as well as support goals across multiple policy areas, including adaptation to climate change. Examples of GI solutions include constructing wetlands, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, wetland conservation, and introducing flood bypasses, to name but a few. For example, floodplains can reduce flood risk and simultaneously improve water quality, recharge groundwater, support fish and wildlife and provide recreational and tourism benefits. -- (full text)

Important Changes Coming to the EPA Grants Application Process
Monday, September 29, 2014-- EPA will soon finalize its grants application policy and the requirement to submit all initial applications through Grants.gov will be effective February 17, 2015. If you are unfamiliar with Grants.gov or would like to learn more about it, EPA's Office of Grants and Debarment will be hosting a number of informational/training sessions for applicants over the coming months that will cover both the registration process as well as the application process. There also will be a Q&A session to give applicants the opportunity to ask questions about the Grants.gov system. -- (full text)

HUD Launches $1 Billion National Disaster Resilience Competition
Thursday, September 18, 2014-- In partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. Today, HUD Secretary Julian Castro was joined by Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, in announcing that eligible states and localities can now begin applying for funds. Representatives from eligible communities will have the opportunity to attend Rockefeller-supported Resilience Academies across the country to strengthen their funding proposals. -- (full text)
[US EPA Smart Growth]

Application Open for 2015 ENERGY STAR Awards
Thursday, September 18, 2014-- Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. Next year's winners will be recognized at the ENERGY STAR Awards Ceremony on April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. All organizations participating in the ENERGY STAR program are encouraged to apply for a 2015 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award. NEW! This year, we are asking partners to pre-notify us of your intent to apply for an award. Please use your "My ENERGY STAR Account" (MESA) to complete this action by Wednesday, October 1, 2014. This will help us improve the timeliness of our entire process. There will not be a penalty if you choose not to apply after notifying us of your intent; nor will you be penalized if you choose to apply after October 1 but before December 4. -- (full text)

Free Workshops through Smart Growth America
Wednesday, September 17, 2014-- Each year, Smart Growth America makes a limited number of technical assistance workshops available to interested communities for zero cost. This competitive award gives communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development through a one- or two-day workshop. Applications are now being accepted for our 2015 workshop series. Communities can apply for one of 12 workshop types as part of the free program, including: Implementing smart growth 101, Planning for economic and fiscal health, Sustainable land use code audit, Complete Streets, Using LEED-ND to accelerate the development of sustainable communities, Walkability workshop/audit, Regional planning for small communities, Smart growth zoning codes for small cities, Transportation performance measurement, Cool planning, Parking audits, and Implementing transit-oriented development 101. Any unit or subdivision of local government, Indian tribe, or regional government is eligible to apply for these free workshops. Communities may apply for more than one workshop, but must submit separate applications for each. Applications are due by Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT. Check under LGEAN's Upcoming Events section for a link to Smart Growth America's webinar on September 23rd providing information on available workshops and the application process!

EPA Awards 2014 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreements
Wednesday, September 17, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today competitive cooperative agreements with 12 community-based organizations working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding for non-profit and tribal organizations to partner with stakeholders from across industry, government, and academia to develop and implement solutions that significantly address environmental and/or public health issues in American communities. In 2003, EPAs Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) launched the first solicitation for the EJCPS Cooperative Agreement Program. Since the Programs inception, EPA has provided funding to 50 projects to help communities understand and address exposure to environmental harms and risks. Each of this years recipients are awarded up to $120,000 to support two-year projects, including identifying and reducing sources of air pollution, reducing lead exposure in homes of low-income residents, and the cleanup and repurposing of community dump sites. Projects must use the Collaborative Problem Solving model, comprised of seven elements of a successful collaborative partnership, to address local environmental and/or public health issues. -- (full text)