Jan 29, 2015

EPA Helps 22 Communities Meet Sustainability Goals

The EPA selects 22 communities out of 121 applicants to receive technical assistance for sustainability projects

sustainability, EPA, building blocks for sustainable communities program

Twenty-two communities will receive technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pursue development strategies that support smart growth and sustainability goals and encourage local economic development. EPA selected this year’s 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.

EPA selected the following communities, located in 18 states: Asheville, N.C.; Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.;Canton, Miss.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Damariscotta, Maine; Danville, Ill.; Fresno, Calif.; Marysville, Wash.; Mobile, Ala.; Nederland, Colo.; New Paltz, N.Y.; Newburyport, Mass; Passaic County, N.J.; Polk County, Iowa; Prichard, Ala.; Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Wis.; Santa Ynez Band of Chamash Indians, Calif; Scituate, Mass; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and Terre Haute, Ind.

The agency is offering five tools this year: 

  • Bikeshare Planning;
  • Equitable Development;
  • Infill Development for Distressed Cities;
  • Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Areas; and 
  • Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities. 

Using the flood resilience tool, for example, EPA will help Newburyport, Mass. explore green infrastructure solutions to coastal erosion and river flooding to protect the town’s vibrant riverfront economy. EPA will also help New Paltz, N.Y. amend its village code to make the historic downtown more resilient to flooding, which disproportionately affects minority and low-income residents.

Since 2011, the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program has provided assistance to 130 communities in 41 states. As a result, community groups, local governments and tribal governments across the nation have increased their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity, prepare for the effects of climate change, and improve overall quality of life.

EPA will conduct these workshops in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Through the Partnership, EPA, HUD and DOT work together to coordinate investments in housing, transportation and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.