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Guidelines Aligned to Create Sustainable, High-Performance Buildings
Tuesday, February 24, 2015-- Several leading associations that develop codes and standards to create green buildings are collaborating to align the International Green Construction Code, ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1 and the LEED green building program. The initiative is being welcomed by code officials, architects, engineers and contractors. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

America's Infrastructure Crisis Is Really a Maintenance Crisis
Monday, February 23, 2015-- It's long been time to focus more on maintaining America's existing roads and less on building new ones. The National Highway System already connects virtually all of the areas worth connecting. Driving peaked circa 2004  and even earlier in some states. Traffic remains bad in many metros, but by itself expanding road networks can only temporarily alleviate the problem, and over time might even increase it. -- (full text)

Boulder, CO Continues to Develop New Transportation Strategies for Sustainable Development
Monday, February 23, 2015-- Boulder, CO has ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions and improve transportation in the city. A newly adopted transportation planinformed by Smart Growth Americas work with the cityis the most recent step toward achieving these goals. -- (full text)
[Smart Growth America]

National Groundwater Awareness Week (March 8-15)
Thursday, February 19, 2015-- Now well into its second decade, Groundwater Awareness Week spotlights one of the worlds most important resources  groundwater. Who should be aware of groundwater? Quite simply, everyone. Groundwater is essential to the health and well-being of humanity and the environment. Whether youre on a public water system or a private well, whether you are a health care official, policymaker, regulator, an environmentalist or a groundwater professional, you can get involved in protecting this vital resource. -- (full text)
[National Ground Water Association]

EPA Releases Stormwater Climate Change Tool
Tuesday, February 17, 2015-- As part of President Obamas Climate Action Plan Virtual Climate Resilience Toolkit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of the Climate Adjustment Tool for EPAs Stormwater Management Model  a widely-used, downloadable online stormwater simulation model. The Climate Adjustment Tool allows engineers and planners to evaluate the performance of water infrastructure while considering future climate change projections, such as more frequent high-intensity storms and changes in evaporation rates of seasonal precipitation, to determine the benefits of resiliency decisions to reduce local economic burden and protect communities. -- (full text)

Community-driven Revitalization: Tying it Together in Freeport, Illinois
Wednesday, February 11, 2015-- The East Side of Freeport, Illinois, is a remarkable place. This African-American neighborhood has been home to families for generations. Residents have a strong sense of community and deep affection for the area. However, frequent flooding from the Pecatonica River has not just damaged homes but impacted the communitys economic vitality. The community also has vacant former industrial areas, petroleum contamination, and has been subject to illegal dumping at the CMC Heartland Superfund site. These have exacerbated the legacy of racial segregation, strained relationships with civic leadership, and diminished access to community amenities. -- (full text)

New Executive Order Establishes a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Wednesday, February 11, 2015-- President Obama signed Executive Order 13690, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input, on January 30, 2015. The new E.O. amends E.O. 11988, Floodplain Management, and, among other things, provides 3 approaches that federal agencies can use now to establish the flood elevation and hazard area for consideration in their decision making: climate-informed science approach, adding 2-3 feet of elevation to the 100-year floodplain, and using the 500-year floodplain. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Secretary Jewell Announces $50 Million for Western Drought Response
Monday, February 09, 2015-- Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Bureau of Reclamation is making $50 million in funds available immediately for drought relief projects throughout the West including nearly $20 million for Californias Central Valley Project. Californias ongoing drought is wreaking havoc on farmers, ranchers, municipalities, tribes and the environment, said Secretary Jewell. With climate change, droughts are projected to become more intense and frequent in many parts of the West, so we need to pursue every measure to provide relief and support to communities who are feeling the impacts. Todays funding will help boost immediate and long-term efforts to improve water efficiencies and increase resilience in high-risk communities, including in Californias Central Valley, added Jewell. I appreciate the support of Congress, especially that of Senator Feinstein and the California delegation, in helping make these much needed funds available." -- (full text)
[U.S. Department of the Interior]

Funds to Strengthen Local Solar Markets and Spur Solar Deployment
Monday, February 09, 2015-- The Energy Department announced $13 million in funding to help communities across the country reduce market and policy barriers to solar deployment and recognize communities for taking the initiative to go solar. This investment will make it faster, cheaper and easier for Americans to install affordable solar energy systems and spur solar deployment nationwide by decreasing costs and supporting communities' efforts to transform solar energy markets. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Cleveland, Evanston and Seattle Lead in Climate Change Action
Wednesday, February 04, 2015-- Cleveland, Evanston, and Seattle are finalists in World Wildlife Funds Earth Hour City Challenge, a year-long challenge recognizing cities responding to the threats of climate change and reducing their carbon footprint. The cities were chosen by WWF and global management consultancy Accenture for transitioning their communities toward a climate-friendly future. One of these cities will serve as the 2015 U.S. Earth Hour City Capital and receive funding from WWF to advance local climate readiness efforts. More than 40 local governments from across the country are members of this years group of Earth Hour City Challengers. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Resources for Winter Storm Readiness
Tuesday, February 03, 2015-- If you're looking for resources on dealing with winter weather, check out ICMA's Knowledge Network. This list came from a recent post by ICMA's David Goroff. -- (full text)

What to Know about the Presidents FY2016 Budget Request for EPA
Tuesday, February 03, 2015-- 1. The Presidents Fiscal Year 2016 budget request for EPA demonstrates the Administrations commitment to protecting public health and the environment. The $8.6 billion request is about $450 million above last years enacted amount, and will protect our homes and businesses by supporting climate action and environmental protection. See the rest of the list in the full article. -- (full text)

2015 EcoDistricts Incubator Call for Participation
Monday, February 02, 2015-- The EcoDistricts Incubator is a three-day intensive, project-based workshop designed to accelerate district-scale sustainability across North America.The 2015 Incubator Call for Participation is now open. Project teams that are committed to developing a sustainable district or neighborhood project should apply. Teams must come to the EcoDistricts Incubator with an identified project, and have the authority and capacity to create change within the proposed district. Multiple projects will be considered as well. Applications are due by 12 PM PST on Friday, March 6, 2015 through our online application form. -- (full text)

EPA Helps 22 Communities to Meet their Sustainability Goals and Foster Economic Development
Monday, February 02, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that 22 communities will receive technical assistance to pursue development strategies that support smart growth and sustainability goals and encourage local economic development. EPA selected this years recipients from among 121 applicants to the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. EPA staff and national experts will conduct one to two-day workshops in the communities that focus on the specific sustainability tool each community requested in its application to EPA. -- (full text)

EPA Helps Two California Communities Meet Sustainability Goals, Develop Flood Resilience
Tuesday, January 27, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that 22 communities will receive technical assistance for efforts supporting smart growth, sustainability and local economic development. In California, the City of Fresno will receive assistance in the development of a bikeshare system; the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will receive assistance for flood resiliency planning. EPA selected this years recipients from among 121 applicants to the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. EPA staff and national experts will conduct one- to two-day workshops in the communities that focus on the specific sustainability tool each community requested in its application to EPA. -- (full text)

County's Biomass Project Provides Economic, Environmental Benefits
Thursday, January 22, 2015-- Perseverance was the key for Sullivan Countys District Energy biomass project, but officials said it was more than worth the wait since the benefits have been immediate. Sullivan County, N.H. was interested in utilizing biomass for quite some time in order to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. At a cost of $3.4 million, the Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) District Energy System was constructed at its Unity Complex. The system is almost entirely fueled by locally sourced, renewable wood chips, provided by Cousineau Forest Products in Henniker, N.H., and produces inexpensive heat and electricity for the more than 215,000 sq. ft. of conditioned space. The system has replaced 95 percent of fuel oil purchases and 10 percent of electric purchases in the nursing home. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

EPA Launches Finance Center to Improve Community Water Infrastructure and Resiliency
Tuesday, January 20, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center today to help communities across the country improve their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems, particularly through innovative financing and by building resilience to climate change. EPA's Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center will serve as a resource for communities, municipal utilities, and private entities as they seek to address water infrastructure needs with limited budgets. The Center will support communities and explore creative and innovative financing practices, including public-private partnerships. -- (full text)

Concrete Ideas for Reducing Concrete Waste
Thursday, January 15, 2015-- Civil engineering researchers, sustainable construction advocates and innovators in the zero-waste movement are on the hunt for the most effective and efficient ways to use and reuse concrete. The world is literally covered in concrete and with an annual production of 3 tons per person globally it is the second most consumed material on earth, after water. Its strength and durability are coveted by construction crews from New Zealand to Zimbabwe. But, it is also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

EPA Requests Nominations for Mobile Sources Technical Review Subcommittee
Wednesday, January 14, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its Mobile Sources Technical Review Subcommittee (MSTRS). Vacancies are anticipated to be filled by October 2015.The MSTRS is a federal advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 92. The MSTRS provides the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) with independent advice, counsel and recommendations on the scientific and technical aspects of programs related to mobile source air pollution and its control. Learn more at the link below. -- (full text)

EPA Seeks Nominations for Annual Environmental Champion Awards
Tuesday, January 13, 2015-- Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honors individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed significantly to improving the environment and protecting public health in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Indian Nations over the past year. EPA is now seeking nominations for the Environmental Champion Awards, previously called the Environmental Quality Awards. Winners will be honored at an awards event on Friday, April 24, 2015. The Agency is accepting nominations for Environmental Champion Awards until February 17, 2015. -- (full text)

Register for the 2015 EPA ENERGY STAR® National Building Competition!
Monday, January 12, 2015-- What could your local government do with an extra $25,000!? Over the past 2 years, that's how much the average competitor in the EPA's National Building Competition has saved in energy usage! EPA is once again hosting the largest competition of its kind in the nation. Energy managers at commercial buildings in every state will compete to see who can save the most energy and water, all while fighting climate change, too. Competitors will work off the waste through improvements in energy and water efficiency with help from EPAs ENERGY STAR® program. Registration is now open for 2015. -- (full text)

EPA Recommends Radon Testing in January
Monday, January 12, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January as national Radon Action Month, a perfect time for you to protect your family by testing your home for radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, so testing is the only way to know if radon is present in your home or school. Test kits are available in home improvement centers, hardware stores and online. They cost approximately $20. The kits are simple to use with easy testing and mailing instructions. "Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family," said EPA Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "By reducing radon exposure, we can make our homes, schools and communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play." -- (full text)

EPA Will Review 24 Hazardous Site Cleanups during 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015-- EPA will review site clean ups and remedies at 20 Superfund Sites and oversee reviews at 4 Federal Facilities across New England this year by doing scheduled Five-Year Reviews at each site. EPA conducts evaluations every five years on previously-completed clean up and remediation work performed at Superfund sites and Federal Facilities listed on the National Priorities List (aka Superfund sites) to determine whether the implemented remedies at the sites continue to be protective of human health and the environment. Further, five year review evaluations identify any deficiencies to the previous work and, if called for, recommend action(s) necessary to address them. -- (full text)

Launch of the New Sustainable Forestry Initiative 2015-2019 Standards and Rules
Friday, January 09, 2015-- The decisions we make every day directly affect the health and future of our forests. The launch of the new Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) 2015-2019 Standards and Rules marks an important advancement to support better decision making all along the supply chain and to promote sustainable forest management. When a Fortune 500 company sources forest products, a landowner makes a forest management plan or a consumer buys copy paper, they can all make the right choice for our forests by choosing SFI. "The revised SFI standards will continue to serve as a proof point for responsible forestry in North America," said Lawrence Selzer, Chair of the SFI Board of Directors and President and CEO of The Conservation Fund. "These standards are shaped by the people and communities who put them into practice every day." -- (full text)
[The Conservation Fund]

EPA's New Stormwater Rules for New Construction
Wednesday, January 07, 2015-- On February 15, 2012, things got even more complicated for companies starting new construction projects. That's when the EPA's new and expanded Construction General Permit (CGP) went into effect. The latest set of regulations will affect more than 82,000 companies and costs are expected to hit $1 billion a year. How will the latest changes affect you? How can companies avoid heavy fines? Report includes insights on how to write an effective Stormwater Plan: "How to avoid 7 mistakes companies make on stormwater compliance" "6 key areas that stormwater pollution prevention plans must include" "EPA focuses on dirt: Prepare for upcoming turbidity standards" "Switch to numeric limits: How to craft stormwater plans that ensure compliance " -- (full text)
[PBP Executive Reports]