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Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit
Monday, October 17, 2016-- EPA has developed innovative models, tools, and technologies for communities to manage urban water runoff. The models and tools in this toolkit incorporate green infrastructure practices to help communities manage their water resources in a more sustainable way, increasing resilience to future changes, such as climate and extreme events. -- (full text)

When It Comes to Waste, San Francisco Isn't As Green As It Thinks
Tuesday, September 27, 2016-- It's easy for politicians to set goals for their cities. It's far, far harder to achieve them. Take San Francisco's much-heralded goal of sending absolutely no garbage to landfills by the year 2020. In a composted nutshell? It's nowhere near happening. Back in 2003 when the city's Commission on the Environment, at the urging of Mayor Willie Brown and the entire Board of Supervisors, set that goal, it was considered achievable. But 13 years later, and just four years from the goal date, San Francisco continues to throw away huge amounts of garbage. The city's waste has averaged 1,463 tons every workday over the past year, according to Recology, the city's trash collector. There's no penalty for not meeting the target other than, of course, a swelling landfill that's bad for the environment and a big dent in San Francisco's reputation as one of the greenest cities in the world. -- (full text)

Six Universities Get EPA Support to Research Water Quality
Tuesday, September 27, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced funding to six universities to work with local communities to better understand the economic value of water quality. "Clean water is a cornerstone of a healthy community. Many communities face challenging decisions about investing in the protection of water resources," said Thomas Burke, EPA science advisory and deputy assistant administrator of EPAs Office of Research and Development. "These grants will help measure the costs and benefits of improving water quality, an important step toward protecting the environment and human health." Chemical and microbial contaminants continue to reduce the quality of our water, and often at a rate that outpaces water quality improvements from regulatory actions. The research grants announced will help communities and experts conduct benefit-cost analyses for actions that protect our waterways. This research will also provide a critical link between water quality science and the monetary value of the services that healthy waterways provide, including recreational uses. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Energy Department Launches Better Communities Alliance to Ignite Clean Energy Action in Cities and Counties Nationwide
Monday, September 26, 2016-- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching the Better Communities Alliance (BCA), a new collaborative effort among 60 local governments, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, and leading private companies to accelerate local clean energy progress across the country. The BCA was announced today by the White House during Smart Cities Week. With 87% of total U.S. energy to be consumed in cities by 2030, America's local governments are stepping up to the challenge. Through the BCA, city and county leaders are making commitments to reduce the wasted energy in homes and buildings, expand renewable energy and sustainable transportation options for their residents and businesses, harness new energy-saving technologies, and invest in resilient power systems and community infrastructure. As part of the Better Buildings Initiative, the BCA will deliver new clean energy resources, technical assistance, and facilitate collaboration between public and private partners by making it easier for participants to connect and exchange ideas. -- (full text)

EPA Announces Initiatives To Advance Tribal Sovereignty, Expand Environmental Observer Network
Monday, September 26, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an interagency agreement on tribal treaty rights and other initiatives designed to advance tribal sovereignty and self-determination. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced this and other initiatives to improve human health and the environment on Indian reservations in remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington. Under the Constitution, treaties are part of the supreme law of the land, with the same legal force and effect as federal statutes. Thats why EPA announced a Memorandum of Understanding on interagency coordination and collaboration to advance protection of tribal treaty and similar rights related to natural resources affected by agency decisions. This MOU stems in part from EPAs recent Guidance for Discussing Tribal Treaty Rights, an effort to encourage consideration of treaty rights in the agencys consultation policy. The memorandum will be available for signature by federal agencies on a rolling basis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation have so far signed the MOU, in addition to EPA. -- (full text)

Wind Farm Brings New Life to Former Brownfield
Monday, September 19, 2016-- Its no secret that parts of U.S. manufacturing have struggled over the last several decades. And while American wind power is helping to bring back some of it back, in Lackawana, N.Y., wind energy is helping in a different way. Today, the Steel Winds project sits on the bank of Lake Erie, on the site of a former Bethlehem Steel plant. After years of steel production, when the mill closed, it left the surrounding grounds badly polluted, otherwise known as a brownfield. For more than 20 years, the land was vacant and designated an Environmental Protection Agency superfund site. When the area was sufficiently cleaned, the 14 wind turbines comprising the Steel Winds project were installed in two phases, beginning in 2007. They generate enough electricity to power about 15,000 homes, and some Lackawana residents feel they represent a path forward for a city that has struggled through industrial decline. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

EPA Announces Over $4.6 Million in Grants for Coastal Watersheds in Southeast New England
Friday, September 16, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $4,637,000 for eight grants focused on coastal watershed efforts in southeast Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The projects selected for grant funding are intended to identify, test, and promote effective new regional approaches in critical areas such as water monitoring, watershed planning, nutrient and/or septic management, and resilience to climate change. These projects are funded through EPA's Southeast New England Program (SNEP). Since its launch in 2014, SNEP's mission has been to seek and adopt transformative environmental management. Grantees have developed projects that share innovative solutions and foster collaborative problem-solving and new approaches. One of the goals of the Southern New England Program is to make connections across projects to ensure that restoration strategies are comprehensive and sustainable, that they are informed by input from key stakeholders, and that they are connected to the economies and enhance the ecosystem services that support coastal watershed communities. The program's geographic area encompasses the coastal watersheds from Westerly, Rhode Island to Chatham, Massachusetts, and includes Narragansett Bay and all other Rhode Island coastal waters, Buzzards Bay, and southern Cape Cod as well as the islands of Block Island, Marthas Vineyard, and Nantucket. -- (full text)

SepticSmart Week, Sept. 19-23: EPA Urges Maintenance of Septic Systems to Protect Health, Environment, and Save Money
Thursday, September 15, 2016-- On Monday, September 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  in conjunction with federal, state and local government and private sector partners  will kick off its fourth annual SepticSmart Week (Sept. 19-23) to encourage American homeowners and communities to properly maintain their septic systems. More than 26 million homes in the United States  or one in five households  depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household toxics to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health and the environment and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs. By taking small steps to maintain septic systems, homeowners not only protect our nations public health and keep our water clean, but also save money and protect their property values, said Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for EPAs Office of Water. -- (full text)

Secretary Jewell Approves Utility-Scale Solar Project on Tribal Land in Nevada
Thursday, September 15, 2016-- As part of President Obamas commitment to build strong, sustainable tribal communities and the Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and create clean energy jobs, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and First Solar to announce approval of the 100-megawatt Aiya Solar Project on tribal trust land in Clark County, Nevada. Secretary Jewells visit to Nevada was the last of a three-state tour to highlight Obama Administration efforts to support renewable energy. Located about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas, the Aiya Solar Project is the third utility-scale photovoltaic facility approved for development on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians Reservation. The project is the 60th renewable energy project approved for federally administered land since 2009 as part of a Department-wide effort to advance smart development of renewable energy on our nation's public lands. -- (full text)
[U.S. Department of the Interior]

EPA Awards $2.7 Million to American Samoa for Environmental Protection
Wednesday, September 14, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a grant of over $2.7 million to American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency for its environmental protection programs. EPAs funding enables American Samoa to pursue its goals of clean air, water and land, said Alexis Strauss, acting EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. We appreciate American Samoa EPAs work that benefits the island residents and their natural resources. ASEPA will use the funds to support air, water, and land inspections, monitor the safety of beaches and drinking water, cleanup sites contaminated by waste, improve piggery environmental compliance, monitor water quality, protect coral reefs, and respond to emergencies. -- (full text)

EPA Recognized Supermarkets Across the Country for Environmental Leadership in Reducing Potent Greenhouse Gases
Tuesday, September 13, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized 13 companies in the supermarket industry for their achievements reducing emissions of environmentally harmful refrigerants. Many of the refrigerants used by supermarkets are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change when leaked into the atmosphere. EPAs awardees are meeting the goals of the Presidents Climate Action Plan by preventing refrigerant leaks, transitioning to climate-friendly refrigerants, and using advanced refrigeration technologies. EPAs GreenChill partners own approximately 10,800 stores nationwide, representing 29 percent of the U.S. supermarket industry. If supermarkets nationwide reduced the amount of refrigerant they leak to the current GreenChill partner average, they could avoid $169 million in refrigerant replacement costs while preventing the equivalent of 29 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, roughly equal to the annual emissions of about 6 million cars. -- (full text)

Once Fringe Greening Ideas Now Key Part of Detroit Rebirth
Saturday, September 03, 2016-- It wasn't so long ago in Detroit that proposals for bicycle lanes, urban farms, mass tree plantings and other alternative uses for urban land were viewed as soft-headed or even harmful. But today these ideas and others like them have gone mainstream. The latest example is Open Streets Detroit, which on two Sunday afternoons this fall will close a nearly four-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue and Vernor Highway to vehicle traffic. Neighbors will be able to stroll, bike, skateboard, practice yoga, listen to music, mingle and otherwise enjoy the streets without the traffic. The event is part of an international Open Streets movement, which involves a dozen cities around the world hosting traffic-free days with tens of thousands participating. Open Streets Detroit joins a roster of programs and practices increasingly redefining how we use our urban landscape. -- (full text)
[Detroit Free Press]

EPA Addresses Arkansas Regional Haze Goals
Thursday, September 01, 2016-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is completing the process for a federally implemented clean air plan for Arkansas. The plan will reduce regional haze in Arkansas and Missouri to help meet federal Clean Air Act requirements. The announcement comes after several months of meaningful negotiations between EPA and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). All wilderness areas included in the plan have already shown some improvement in visibility, one of the major goals of the federal regional haze rule. The Clean Air Acts regional haze rule requires states to make progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions in some of the nations most treasured wilderness areas. States must submit plans for achieving these progress goals by reducing harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. -- (full text)

APA to Help Communities Address Climate Extremes
Thursday, September 01, 2016-- The American Planning Association (APA) received a $300,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) Climate Program Office to assist communities in addressing potential climate extremes such as high precipitation in a short period of time or extreme drought. APA will work on the two-year contract with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and climatologists from the University of Illinois and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Consortium. The project, Incorporating Local Science to Help Communities Plan for Climate Extremes, will help communities in the Great Lakes region incorporate available climate data into comprehensive and capital improvement plans. Very few communities currently use climate data as a way to prepare for potential consequences experienced from extreme climate events. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]