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Washington, D.C. Takes No. 1 Spot on EPAs Energy Star Top Cities List
Tuesday, March 31, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its seventh-annual list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings in 2014. This year, Washington, D.C., debuts in the top spot with 480 buildings. EPAs Energy Star Top Cities list shows how cities across America, with help from Energy Star, are embracing energy efficiency as an effective way to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. -- (full text)

A Little Wastewater Change Produces a Lot of Savings
Thursday, March 26, 2015-- Communities frequently begin energy efficiency projects with lighting or mechanical system upgrades in public buildings, or by looking at the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. However, one of the largest energy consuming operations in most cities is often a missed opportunity: Drinking water and wastewater treatment systems. Typically these systems account for 30-40 percent of a citys total energy demand. A unique partnership led by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proving that low-cost changes to water and wastewater treatment plants can have big energy and cost savings. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Clean Diesel Grants Awarded in 21 States, Puerto Rico
Wednesday, March 25, 2015-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $8 million to communities in 21 states and Puerto Rico to reduce emissions from the nations existing fleet of diesel engines through the agencys Diesel Emission Reduction Act program. The grants will fund projects such as retrofitting older school buses to improve air quality for children riding to school, upgrading marine propulsion and agriculture engines, and replacing long haul truck engines. Each project will improve air quality and support economic growth in local communities. -- (full text)

Rails-To-Trails: How Johnson City and Elizabethton, TN are spurring community and economic development
Wednesday, March 25, 2015-- When a community looks for economic and community development opportunities, the answer often lies in their own history. Many communities are using recreational opportunities as major placemaking initiatives and a focus on history and natural heritage has been at the forefront of those decisions. With a vision to use an abandoned resource to create a cultural link to their past, the city of Johnson City and the city of Elizabethton partnered to convert a 10-mile stretch of abandoned railway to a greenway that links their communities in a new way. The two municipalities, with the help of several groups of stakeholders, successfully created new recreational opportunities, spurred economic development, and preserved a key to the areas rich cultural heritage born around the railroad industry -- (full text)
[TN Municipal League]

EPA Awards $2.5 million to Arizona to Improve Surface Water Quality
Monday, March 23, 2015-- The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $2.5 million to the State of Arizona for projects to help restore water quality in the states polluted water bodies. With an additional $1.6 million leveraged by the state for these activities, more than $4 million is available this year to improve surface water quality. Recent water quality data shows that a significant percentage of surface waters in Arizona are listed as impaired, or polluted, by the state. Extrapolating from Arizonas 2012 surface water assessment, which focused on a portion of the states lakes and streams, 28 percent of stream miles and 74 percent of lake acres do not meet water quality standards. Water quality standards vary depending on how the water is used  from full body contact standards for waters designated for swimming to aquatic and wildlife standards for waters supporting fish and wildlife habitat. In Arizona, E. coli bacteria, metals, pesticides and fertilizers are the top sources of water pollution to surface water, such as rivers and lakes. -- (full text)

EPA Encourages Consumers to Save 1 Trillion Gallons of Wasted Water/ WaterSense Partners Celebrate Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22
Monday, March 16, 2015-- Every year, more than one trillion gallons of water go down the drain because of household leaks. Leaks may increase a water bill by as much as 10 percent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys WaterSense program encourages consumers to celebrate the seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22, 2015, by finding and fixing water leaks in their homes. Annually, the average American family could be wasting more than 10,000 gallons of water  enough for 270 loads of laundry  due to easy-to-fix leaks. Since 2006 WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 757 billion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills. -- (full text)

Free Livability Technical Assistance Coming to Nine Communities
Friday, March 13, 2015-- Project for Public Spaces and their partners at Livability Solutions are pleased to announce the nine communities selected to receive free technical assistance in 2015, thanks to a grant to Project for Public Spaces from the United States Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. Each recipient will receive a one- or two-day workshop with one of our Livability Solutions partners to tackle a particular sustainable communities challenge or opportunity in their community. The nine selected applicants represent a diverse group of communities from across the United States, from large cities to rural communities. All have a strong commitment to sustainability and smart growth and are poised to implement positive change through the assistance we are offering. This year, we placed an even greater emphasis on prioritizing high needs communities, in order to help areas struggling with serious economic, environmental, health, and other challenges. -- (full text)

Marin County Partners Launch App to Track Sustainability
Thursday, March 12, 2015-- A partnership of 16 jurisdictions in Marin County has launched a new interactive sustainability tracker illustrating progress being made by local governing bodies, residents and businesses toward reducing emissions and increasing sustainable practices. The Marin Sustainability Tracker includes 12 metrics gauging a communitys level of consumption and implementation of sustainability measures related to energy, waste, transportation, water and greenhouse gas reductions. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

U.S. EPA Awards $175,000 Brownfield grant to City of Fresno for revitalization of Elm Ave Corridor
Thursday, March 12, 2015-- This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award $175,000 to the City of Fresno to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of potentially contaminated sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program. Nationwide, EPA awarded approximately $4 million in these planning grants to 20 communities in 16 states across the country. The funds will be used to engage communities and conduct planning for Brownfields revitalization. Brownfields sites are property that may not be used or revitalized due to possible contamination. -- (full text)

Advancing Sustainable Development in the United States
Wednesday, March 04, 2015-- A United Nations summit to adopt sustainable development goals will take place this September. Among these is a proposed goal to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, which expresses global intent to provide adequate water and sanitation to everyone. When we think about inadequate drinking water and wastewater treatment, it usually brings to mind developing countries. But in our work in the Office of Wastewater Management, we see examples in rural Alaska, Appalachia, the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as smaller communities like Willisville and Lowndes County. -- (full text)

Brownfield-Greyfield Redevelopment Financing Toolkit for Local Government Officials
Tuesday, March 03, 2015-- The Toolkit focuses on ways to make better use of existing financial tools, such as tax credits, HUD CDBG and HUD 108, Clean Water State Revolving Funds, tax increment financing, Supplementary Environmental Projects, and insurance recovery. The report also highlights well-regarded brownfields incentive tools from other states.This project is an intensive study of brownfields redevelopment financing program possibilities and tools that may support and facilitate future activity involving public and private investment in brownfield-greyfield redevelopment projects. -- (full text)
[Connect Our Future]

Flood Risk Management Session Feedback and Listening Sessions
Tuesday, March 03, 2015-- FEMA and other federal partners will be offering a series of listening sessions on the implementation of the new federal flood risk management standard. These sessions provide the opportunity to learn more about the Standard, ask questions, and provide feedback on how federal agencies implement the Standard. Sessions will be held in Ames, Iowa (3/3); Biloxi, Mississippi (3/5); Mather, California (3/11); and Norfolk, Virginia (3/11). -- (full text)

National Disaster Resilience Competition
Tuesday, March 03, 2015-- On June 14, 2014, President Obama announced the National Disaster Resilience Competition. Responding to demand from state, local and tribal leaders who are working to increase the safety and security of their communities, the nearly $1 billion competition will invite communities that have experienced natural disasters to compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The competition will support innovative resilience projects at the local level while encouraging communities to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and rebuild affected areas to be better prepared for the future. -- (full text)
[HUD Exchange]

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]

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)