EPA Region 7 Communities Information Digest

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Communities Information Digest

April 9, 2012  |  For information or to subscribe, contact Tegan Vaughn @ 913-551-7326, vaughn.tegan@epa.gov

Note: new items are in *asterisks*




*HUD Awards $110.8 Million in Grants to Protect Thousands of Children from Lead and Other Home Hazards*
 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $110.8 million in grants to 43 local projects to conduct a wide range of activities intended to protect children and families from potentially dangerous lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards (see chart below).The grant funding announced today will clean up lead and other health hazards in nearly 6,000 high-risk homes, train workers in lead safety methods, and increase public awareness about childhood lead poisoning. Lead is a known toxin that can impair children's development and have effects lasting into adulthood.
"Protecting the health and well-being of children is a top priority for HUD. We know that housing conditions directly affect the health of its residents," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  "These grants will help communities around the nation protect families from lead exposure and other significant health and safety hazards."
 Through these grant programs, HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead hazards from lower income homes; stimulates private sector investment in lead hazard control; and educates the public about the dangers of lead-based paint.  A complete project-by-project summary of the programs awarded grants today can be found on HUD's website. For more information, please visit: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=pitqxnbab&v=001dd8yjkr0-rAROBHEoe3CHMJobVTxIZPZs1MfvWRv4SdHuA4EezSsUDH8u6oV-HWbHZq1f3os7zc1-XmFZ45IyGVNvTHt6K-zC70mMQ0IftRxlwrz_yjLIg%3D%3D.

*U.S. Announces Innovative Clean Air Agreement for Industrial Flares with Marathon Petroleum Company*

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice recently announced an innovative environmental agreement with Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Company that already has significantly reduced air pollution from all six of the company’s petroleum refineries. In a first for the refining industry, Marathon has agreed to state-of-the-art controls on combustion devices known as flares and to a cap on the volume of waste gas it will send to its flares. When fully implemented, the agreement is expected to reduce harmful air pollution by approximately 5,400 tons per year and result in future cost savings for the company.

“Today’s agreement will result in cleaner air for communities across the South and Midwest,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By working with EPA, Marathon helped advance new approaches that reduce air pollution and improve efficiency at its refineries and provide the U.S. with new knowledge to bring similar improvements in air quality to other communities across the nation.”

The settlement is part of EPA’s national effort to reduce air pollution from refinery, petrochemical and chemical flares. A flare is a mechanical device, ordinarily elevated high off the ground, used to combust waste gases. The more waste gas a company sends to a flare, the more pollution occurs. The less efficient a flare is in burning waste gas, the more pollution occurs. EPA wants companies to flare less, and when they do flare, to fully combust the harmful chemicals found in the waste gas.
 For more about the settlement, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/marathonrefining.html. For more about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Air Act, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/caa/index.html. For more about EPA’s refinery initiative, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/oil/.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

April 12: EPA Regional Indoor Environments: Reducing Exposure to Indoor Pollutants -http://www.epa.gov/air/grants_funding.html
Meeting Table

Upcoming Meetings, Conferences & Events

April 10-11: National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities— Washington, D.C. – http://www.chemicalright2know.com/events/past
April 11-12: World Health Day 2012: Population Aging and Urbanization Free Conference Boston - http://whd.hnrc.tufts.edu/
*April 12-13:  Retrofitting Sprawl Symposium Phoenix, Arizona -http://purl.asu.edu/events-retrofitting-sprawl/retrofitting-sprawl-symposium
*April 14-17: APA National Planning Conference Los Angeles, California - http://www.planning.org/conference/
*April 17: MARC Urban Forestry— Kansas City, Missouri -https://www.marc2.org/iEBMS/reg/reg_p1_form.aspx?oc=10&ct=STDASC&eventid=14511
*April 26: Designing Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging Population-Washington, DC - http://go.nbm.org/site/Calendar/848272839?view=Detail&id=112123
 May 1-3: Growing Sustainable Communities Conference— Sonoma County, California http://www.gscwest.com

May 4: Sustainability by Design: Retrofitting our Cities, Communities and Neighborhoods— Portland, Oregon - http://sustain.uoregon.edu/workshops/course_desc.php?CourseKey=633659

May 10-11: 2012 Good Jobs, Green Jobs North Regional Conference– Detroit, Michigan http://www.greenjobsconference.org/detroit
May 15-17: 15th National Brownfields Conference— Atlanta, Georgia –
June 7-8: Promoting Intergenerational and Environmental Health Across the Lifespan New York City, New York - http://www.healthandenvironment.org/news/conference/intergen2012
June 20-22: Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference New Orleans, Louisiana –
September 10-12: Missouri Recycling Association (MORA) Annual Conference— St. Louis, Missouri - http://mora.org/


Upcoming Webinars & Conference Calls

EPA Smart Growth Webinar: Creating a Unique Public Space—The Uptown Roundabout, Tuesday, April 10, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (EDT)
Learn how Normal, Illinois solved a tricky traffic problem by creating a vibrant, environmentally friendly public space using a traffic roundabout as the centerpiece. The Uptown Normal Roundabout is the 2011 Civic Places category winner for EPA's National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. To join this webinar, go to the webinar page and join as “Guest.” No pre-registration is required. Participants must also phone in using the call-in details below. Audio is not available through the webinar. Conference Number: (866) 299-3188; Participant Code: 2025662950. https://epa.connectsolutions.com/epasmartgrowth.
 *Our Town Community Indicators Study Webinar, Thursday, April 12, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (ET) *
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will host a public webinar to describe the goals and research methods of the Our Town Community Indicators Study. This study leverages the NEA’s involvement in Our Town projects to advance public understanding of how creative place making strategies can strengthen communities. The NEA’s Office of Research & Analysis, which is directing the project, will report on the study’s progress to date, and will solicit ideas about next steps. The webinar is thus an opportunity to make suggestions on how best to achieve the study’s intended outcome – a national indicators system that can become a valuable tool for defining, measuring, and conveying the dimensions of livability most relevant to creative place making. To join the webinar, go to http://artsgov.adobeconnect.com/our-town-indicators/ and click "Enter as Guest." Type in your full name, then click "Enter Room" to join. You will be muted and able to ask questions using the Q&A box. You can listen using your computer speakers or dial-in toll-free to 1-877-685-5350, participant code: 942738.A few days after the webinar, an archive will be available on our website in the “Podcasts, Webcasts, & Webinars” section.
Community Grants Call for Proposals Conference Call, April 10, 12:00-1:30 p.m. (ET)
The 2012 Roadmaps to Health Community Grants call for proposals is now available. The grants, which will support two-year state and local efforts among policymakers, business, education, health care, public health and community organizations, will be managed by Community Catalyst and are part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). Up to 20 coalitions will be awarded grants to create policy or system change to address the social and economic factors that impact the health of people in their community. For more information, please visit: http://www.rwjf.org/applications/solicited/cfp.jsp?ID=21390&utm_source=February+27%2C+2012+County+Health+Rankings+%26amp%3B+Roadmaps+E-News&utm_campaign=February+28+Newsletter&utm_medium=email.
*Solar Electric Power Association Webinar on Clean Energy Opportunities: Learn How CLEAN Programs Can Help You Reach Renewable Energy Goals, April 26, 2 :00-3:00 p.m. (EDT)*
Join the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) on Thursday, April 26, 2012, for a webinar on CLEAN Programs: Helping Utilities Meet Renewable Energy Goals. Clean Local Energy Accessible Now ("CLEAN") programs, also known as feed-in tariffs, are proven, easy-to-implement policies that help utilities meet renewable energy goals and help communities capture clean energy jobs and investment opportunities, all while minimizing administrative burdens on utility staff. This webinar will explain how to evaluate, design and implement a cost-effective CLEAN program. Speakers from the Clean Coalition and from City of Palo Alto will provide an overview of CLEAN programs and a case study of the City of Palo Alto's recently implemented program, Palo Alto CLEAN. Webinar Details: Thursday, April 26, 2012 from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT (11 am–12 noon PDT). This webinar is free to SEPA members and media (subject to verification); $125 non-members. Non-members can participate for free by entering the following discount code: April12-CleanCoalition. To register, please visit SEPA’s webinars page: http://listserve.icfi.com/t/420843/537750/12286/0/.
*Introduction to Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEEs) Webinar, May 3, 1:30-3:30 p.m (EDT)*
The provision of Section 122 of Title 23, U.S.C., GARVEEs permit States to pay debt service and other bond-related expenses with future Federal-aid highway apportionments. GARVEEs provide the opportunity to leverage Federal-aid highway funds to accommodate major projects that might preempt a State’s capital program or to advance phases of various statewide projects by composite issuance. As of September 30, 2011, 25 States and 2 territories had issued $15 billion in GARVEEs since enactment of the National Highway System Act in 1995. This Webinar will help FHWA staff understand GARVEEs—the fundamentals, advantages, and disadvantages of this debt-financing tool—and will enable staff to provide better guidance to State and local partners. To register, please visit: https://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=23960.
*Experimental Programs (TE-045, SEP-14, SEP-15) Process, Successes, Lessons Learned Webinar, April 12 and May 10, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (ET)*
The Federal government has authorized several experimental programs that provide for innovative finance techniques, deviation from competitive bidding provisions, and private participation in transportation project delivery. These programs are intended to accelerate project delivery, increase flexibility, and reduce life-cycle cost while maintaining quality. This Webinar describes the outcomes and lessons learned from several FHWA experimental programs, including TE-045, SEP-14, and SEP-15. To register, please visit: https://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=24317 Register Now For May 10 Webinar! or https://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=24318.
Webinar Series: Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration, Second Thursday of every month from 2:00-3:30 p.m. (MST)
The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII, have organized, in collaboration with other Federal partners, a one-year-long webinar series titled Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration. Protecting the health of children where they live, learn and play is fundamental to making the world a better place for future generations. The purpose of this webinar series is to encourage coordination, collaboration and information sharing across government agencies and organizations, health care providers, educators, and the general public in addressing children health issues. Please save these dates for the following FREE webinars. For additional information about each of the webinars, including registration information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region8/humanhealth/children/webinars.html.
April 12, 2012 - Communities Working Together for Better Health
May 10, 2012 - Successful Asthma Management
June 14, 2012 - Healthy Homes
August 9, 2012 – Children’s Environmental Health Research
September 13, 2012 - National Children Study

Other Community Related Information and Events


*New Webpage for Community Grant Resources*

EPA is making it easier for communities to access our community-based grant resources. The Agency now presents a calendar of upcoming 2012 grant opportunities to help communities address environmental challenges. This page will be updated periodically to reflect upcoming EPA grant programs. In addition, EPA is offering a Grants 101 Tutorial to assist communities in understanding the grants process. Your comments are welcome about how the EPA can make this resource more helpful to you. You can contact the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/contact/index.html. To view the calendar, visit: http://www.epa.gov/ogd/training/resources_for_communities/community_grants_table.htm. For a Grants 101 Tutorial, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/ogd/training/resources_for_communities/epa_grants_101.htm.

*Notification of Indigenous Stakeholder Outreach on developing EPA's Tribal and Indigenous Peoples Environmental Justice Guiding Principles and/or Policy*

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting outreach to Native Hawaiians, state-recognized tribes, indigenous community-based grassroots organizations, tribal colleges, tribal members and other interested indigenous stakeholders to obtain input on the development of EPA’s tribal and indigenous peoples environmental justice guiding principles and/or policy. EPA invites you and your associates to participate in this public comment period, which extends to April 30, 2012. The notification letter and the background information on the purpose and objective of this Agency's planned guiding principles and/or policy are attached, and can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/indigenous/index.html.The Agency is also initiating, through a separate process, tribal consultation with federally-recognized tribes in accordance with its Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes.
*Reconnecting America's Federal Funding Matrix Lists Sustainable Communities Grant Opportunities*
Reconnecting America has compiled a Federal Funding Matrix, which provides a listing of possible funding sources for creating sustainable communities. The Funding Matrix displays funding opportunities for states, cities, local governments and organizations, among others, for planning, implementation, site acquisition, business development, development financing, and other eligible uses. In working with partners around the country, Reconnecting America noticed a lack of a comprehensive list of funding opportunities centered on sustainable communities. They compiled a matrix that would give organizations an easily accessible, extensive, and descriptive tool to find funding opportunities to suit their communities. The matrix provides funding opportunities both inside and outside of the Sustainable Communities Inter-Agency Partnership of HUD, EPA, and DOT, and lists opportunities from agencies such as the USDA, US Small Business Administration, and the Treasury Department. This matrix shows that funding opportunities for sustainable communities are not limited to only a few agencies, but that funding stretches beyond traditional sources. Ultimately, Reconnecting America sought to categorize existing federal funding opportunities for communities to continue efforts to create complete and equitable communities. The funding matrix is meant to be a working document and will be updated as information becomes available. To view the matrix, please visit: http://reconnectingamerica.org/resource-center/federal-grant-opportunities/?utm_source=Federal+Grant+Matrix&utm_campaign=FedGrantAnnounce&utm_medium=email.
*Nominations Now Being Accepted for  2012 Outstanding Achievement Awards*
Each year the Missouri Waste Control Coalition presents its Outstanding Achievement Awards during its annual conference.  This year the conference will be held June 17-19, 2012 at the Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  The award presentations will take place on Monday, June 18 during lunch. Eligibility: is open to any business both for profit and non-profit, industry, government entity or individual, citizens group and solid waste operation located within the State of Missouri. Application:  Describe in 500 words or fewer on the form below how the nominated project meets the criteria established in its category.  Please provide a photo of the project and/or the project team to mwcc@sbcglobal.net.
Click here for the Form. The Categories for Outstanding Achievement: Environmental Innovation, Environmental Stewardship, Environmental Leadership, and Lifetime Achievement Award. The deadline is May 1, 2012.
The US EPA FY12 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant RFP Guidelines have been issued.  
This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities, including non-profit organizations, to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field, with a focus on solid and hazardous waste remediation, environmental health and safety, and wastewater-related training. Proposals are due April 12, 2012.  For more information, go to:  http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-12-03.pdf
*HUD Funds Grassroots Plans for Community Revitalization*
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $5 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to help communities begin the comprehensive neighborhood planning process to transform, rehabilitate and preserve public housing and privately-owned HUD-assisted housing. The Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants will enable communities to create a comprehensive transformation plan to transform distressed public and/or assisted housing. The funding is intended to help communities transform distressed public and assisted housing into sustainable, mixed-income housing that connects to key services, such as education and transportation, and supports positive outcomes for the neighborhood’s families. Eligible applicants are public housing authorities, local governments, tribal entities, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity. Applicants must demonstrate their plan to revitalize the neighborhood through public-private partnerships that seek to develop high-quality public schools and early learning programs, improve public transportation, and improve access to jobs and well-functioning services. Applicants have until May 1, 2012 to apply for the FY2012 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants. HUD anticipates awarding approximately 17-20 grants with a maximum award of $300,000 each. For more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablecitynetwork.com/topic_channels/building_housing/article_61867b56-6738-11e1-8a82-001a4bcf6878.html?utm_source=SCN+InBox+e-Newsletter&utm_campaign=4d614f8786-Newsletter_3-7-2012_PW&utm_medium=email
*2012 Summit on Health Disparities: Call for Abstracts Forthcoming*
The 2012 Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities will soon release a call for conference presentation abstracts. Proposals should reflect the broad summit theme of integrating science, policy, and practice to build a healthier society.
Abstracts will be accepted under three categories: i) integrated panel presentations, ii) oral presentations, and iii) poster presentations.
Abstracts for oral and poster presentations will be limited to 300 words and 500 words for integrated panel proposals.  Each presentation should fall under one of three tracks: Translational and Transdisciplinary Research; Capacity-Building and Infrastructure; or Outreach Partnerships, Collaborations, and Opportunities. Additional details, including submission guidelines, themes and topics will be forthcoming in the official call for abstracts. For any specific inquiries, send an e-mail to: 2012Summit@mail.nih.gov.
*Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Evaluation Metrics Manual*
The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Evaluation Metrics Manual has been updated by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The Manual provides a valuable collection of ideas and real world examples to measure and document achievement in conducting environmental public health programs. While it was designed with PEPH grantees in mind, community groups, advocates, and others seeking to measure successes in public health outreach programs may also find it useful. NIEHS intends for the Manual to be a living document, and that will be updated periodically. Future versions might include additional evaluation approaches, such as cost-benefit analyses and econometric evaluations; new programmatic approaches, such as social media; and new examples of metrics drawn from the ever expanding network of PEPH grantees. The Manual is available at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/pephmetrics.
*Report Shows How Sustainability in Buildings Advances Resiliency*
 The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning have released a report that describes how green buildings advance resiliency in disasters. The report was released during the National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and National Security in the 21st Century, hosted by USGBC and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA. The report, titled Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, describes potential adaptive strategies available to green building practitioners. These strategies add a new dimension to green building's focus on reducing greenhouse gases through energy efficiency and renewable and low-carbon energy supplies. "Every building is designed for a specific range of conditions, such as peak temperature, storm surge and average precipitation," said Dr. Chris Pyke, vice president of research at USBGC. "Climate change has the potential to undermine some of these assumptions and potentially increase risks to people and property. Fortunately, there are practical steps we can take to understand and prepare for the consequences of changing environmental conditions and reduce potential impacts. This can help green buildings meet and exceed expectations for comfort and performance long into the future." For more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablecitynetwork.com/topic_channels/building_housing/article_7f2aefce-6892-11e1-a5b0-001a4bcf6878.html?utm_source=SCN+InBox+e-Newsletter&utm_campaign=4d614f8786-Newsletter_3-7-2012_PW&utm_medium=email.
*Pushing Americans to Get Smarter About How and Where They Build*
A recent article written by Greg Hanscom reports on efforts by FEMA and the Green Building Council to incorporate "climate resiliency" into green building certification criteria in recognition of the increasing effects of climate change. With the impacts of increasingly frequent severe storms already being felt across the country, and in the growing emergency response costs to government at all levels, FEMA recently joined the U.S. Green Building Council and researchers from the University of Michigan to roll out a new report [PDF] called Green Building and Climate Resilience. For more information, please visit: http://grist.org/cities/gimme-bomb-shelter-fema-pushes-for-baking-disaster-planning-into-green-building/ .
*How Green Building Is Transforming Real Estate*
 In a recent article, William Pentland notes a crescendo in the clamor for green buildings in the upscale, commercial market.As the fascination with green design gains momentum; environmentally minded practices become the standard. Nowhere is that more apparent than in commercial real estate, where in recent years, the market for sustainable products has skyrocketed – driven more by demand than government regulation. For more information, please visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2012/03/18/the-brilliant-economics-of-green-buildings/.
*Transportation Experts See Bright Future for Rail*
In a recent article, Jeff McMahon explores the potential of passenger rail in coming years as automobiles and airplanes "become a little more obsolete." Transportation officials from three major cities – Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C. – came together last week to discuss how to spruce up U.S. transit centers. At the center of that discussion was a consensus that Americans will soon look to the train station first when traveling from one city to another – or, as McMahon puts it, "that U.S. transit centers are about to become much more crowded." For more information, please visit:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/03/15/u-s-poised-for-passenger-rail-boom/ .
*Simple Steps to Climate Resilience*
In a recent article, Kaid Benfield highlights nine low-tech steps that he recommends can help communities prepare for the coming changes in global climate. With average global temperature climbing at record rates and scientists speculating that average US temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century, climate resilience has become a concern for researchers, planners, academics, and authorities. Although large-scale coordinated efforts to diminish the warming trajectory will take time, investment, and leadership, there are several low-tech initiatives that individuals and groups can implement in their own communities to prepare for rising temperatures, notes Benfield. For more information, please visit: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/nine_low-tech_steps_for_commun.html.
*Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer Compass*
 Launched in 2009, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative has been working with the USDA’s 17 agencies to coordinate USDA’s work and investments in local and regional food system. The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass now allows you to easily navigate the stories of USDA’s work in local and regional food systems, and will spur ideas for how to build stronger local and regional food opportunities in your community. For more information, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/knowyourfarmer?navid=KNOWYOURFARMER.
*Fracking Ruling May Result in More Local Bans*
In what may turn out to be a landmark ruling, the right of Dryden, a New York township adjacent to Cornell University to use its zoning code to ban the controversial drilling technique known fracking was upheld by the N.Y. State Supreme Court. Pro Publica asserts that the Feb. 21 "decision could set a national precedent for how local governments can regulate gas drilling". Fracking is not the only issue here - of equal concern is the relationship between local zoning laws and state laws governing mining. For more information, please visit: http://www.propublica.org/article/new-york-court-affirms-towns-powers-to-ban-fracking.
*Public Transportation Use Up Across the Nation in 2011*
Fueled partly by rising gas prices, public transportation ridership across the USA increased by 2.31% in 2011 over the previous year, the American Public Transportation Association reports. Americans last year took 235 million more trips on buses, trains and subways than in 2010. That's the most ridership since 2008, when gas prices soared to a national average of $4.11 a gallon in July. Also driving ridership: an improving economy. Greater use came despite more than eight out of 10 transit systems either cutting service, increasing fares or both in recent years, says Michael Melaniphy, the association's president and CEO. For more information, please visit: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-12/public-transit-ridership-up/53490166/1.
*How Does Urban Farming Fit into the Big Picture?*
In a recent article, Irmak Turan discusses agriculture's place in the city, as seen by a handful of Brooklyn activists. From storm water absorption to community ties, these farms provide more than just fresh food for earthy hipsters. Advocates of urban farming gathered in Williamsburg late last month to explore the roles that agriculture can play in a concrete jungle. Moderated by Nicola Tilley of Edible Geography, the panel featured leaders of projects and organizations related to urban farms, with focuses as varied as infrastructure and documentary art. For more information, please visit: http://urbanomnibus.net/2012/03/gardener-on-the-roof-examining-urban-farming/ .
*Safe Routes to School Guide: Engineering*
The engineering chapter in the 2012 National Safe Routes to School Guide offers solutions for providing safe routes for children as they walk and bicycle to school. The engineering chapter is a toolbox of techniques that work to create safe routes by improving paths, creating safer crossings and slowing down traffic. It addresses conditions both around the school itself and along the school route. The entire chapter is online as a PDF file: http://guide.saferoutesinfo.org/pdf/SRTS-Guide_Engineering.pdf.
*New guide for local leaders helps overcome barriers to address nation’s blighted properties*
A new guide for town, city and county leaders outlines how to build the financial and political support needed to reclaim and redevelop the thousands of abandoned gas stations, auto body shops, and industrial facilities nationwide. From Vacancy to Vibrancy focuses on underground storage tank (UST) sites – properties with buried or partially buried tanks that have been used to store petroleum or other hazardous substances. When gas stations, auto body shops, industrial facilities or other types of development close down, these tanks are often left behind. As they age, the tanks are prone to leakage and can contaminate both soil and groundwater, posing a serious environmental threat. The new guide takes aim at one of the primary reasons these types of properties remain vacant for so long: many officials just don’t know what to do with them. The new resource provides an overview of the tools and strategies available to leaders who want to transform UST sites into economic and community assets. To view the guide, please visit: http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/2012/03/14/from-vacancy-to-vibrancy-a-guide-to-redeveloping-underground-storage-tank-sites-through-area-wide-planning/.
*Great Lakes Turbines Get Second Wind*
Just months after a proposal to build the first wind farm to be located offshore on any of the Great Lakes was shelved, five neighboring states have struck a deal with the Obama administration to develop offshore wind farms more quickly. Tom Precious reports on the deal, reached last week between New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and the Obama Administration to streamline the approval process for developers looking to build wind turbine projects on the waters of the Great Lakes. For more information, please visit: http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article788058.ece.
*Fireclay Village: A Model for Sustainable Growth*
Utah’s Wasatch Front — a long and narrow region that houses 80 percent of the state’s population — faces significant geographical challenges to accommodate future growth. To the east of the valley, developable land is confined by the steep topography of the Wasatch Mountain Range. To the west, the valley’s boundary is defined by Utah Lake. Because of the narrow north-south orientation of the 80-mile long valley, transportation choices and the orientation of future development are at the forefront of regional plans. For more information, please visit: http://www.huduser.org/portal/sustainability/newsletter_032312_3.html#1.
*Making Sustainable Food More Accessible to Less Fortunate Americans*
As government funding for programs that make fresh fruits and vegetables available to low-income women and young children get cut, Sarah Parsons asks how to make the sustainable food movement less elitist. Parsons bemoans the reductions in government funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, but sees a larger problem in the fundamental causes that make sustainable food inaccessible to many, of which "price tags are just a small piece of the very complex puzzle." For more information, please visit: http://www.good.is/post/let-s-make-sustainable-food-less-elitist/ .
*New resource: Oregon toolkit on reducing GHG emissions from transportation*
A toolkit to help local jurisdictions determine what types of actions and programs they can implement to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation has been launched by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The Oregon Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Toolkit, which provides comprehensive information on programs, modeling and analysis tools, case studies, and communications. Specifically, it provides:
-a searchable database of actions and programs with research-backed estimates of carbon dioxide emissions reduction potential and cost effectiveness estimates;
-a Modeling and Analysis Tools Report, which summarizes the technical tools available to evaluate packages of programs and actions intended to reduce GHG emissions;
-case studies, which demonstrate the implementation of some of the actions and programs included in the database; and
- A communications guide which provides advice on best practices for talking about climate change.
The toolkit can help officials address issues such as how parking permit programs affect emissions or what kinds of investments in bike or pedestrian infrastructure can help achieve local goals, the agency said in a program summary on the toolkit website. To view the toolkit, please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP/GHGToolkit.shtml.
*New Partners for Smart Growth Conference Proceedings now Online* PDF files of nearly all of the PowerPoint presentations given at the 11th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Diego in February 2012 are now available for free online at: http://www.newpartners.org/program.html.
*Dubuque, Iowa Developing Sustainability Performance Indicators* The city of Dubuque has asked the University of Iowa to prepare a set of performance indicators for the town's 11 sustainability principles. The performance indicators will be developed over the 2011-2012 academic year. A recent interim report includes an updated project statement, a review on the methodology process, and identifies and justifies all of the new sustainability indicators. For more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablecitynetwork.com/pdf_5c7a6ac4-73a3-11e1-9967-001a4bcf6878.html.
New Creating Sustainable Places Website Launched
Creating Sustainable Places, which is part of Kansas City, MO’s Mid America Regional Council, recently launched a new website that makes it easier to follow the initiative and locate information. Key information available on the site includes the CSP guiding principles, a list of partners, the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, details about the six corridors, the Implementation Guidebook, and background on the CSP grant.  As the CSP corridor, tool and indicator work progresses, this site will be a repository of information to track what we are doing and how to get involved. For more information, please visit: http://www.marc.org/sustainableplaces/.
Lessons Learned from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities  Brownfields Pilots
In February 2010, the Partnership selected five brownfields pilots http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/partnership.htm in Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Iowa City, Iowa; and National City, California, to receive direct technical assistance. EPA has created a fact sheet that describes some overarching principles that could be helpful in developing successful Partnership projects. It also presents "lessons learned" to help foster meaningful participation, build partnerships, scope and plan projects, and implement revitalization plans. The lessons were identified by stakeholders in the pilot communities representing local, state, regional, and federal agencies; community-based organizations, nonprofits, and private-sector entities. For more information, please visit:
American Heart Association Fact Sheet on Air Pollution and Heart Disease
The American Heart Association has developed a new fact sheet on air pollution and heart disease. To view the American Heart Association’s public resource, please visit: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_437394.pdf.
Save the Date: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: April 28, 2012
The Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day which will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications. Americans that participated in the DEA’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 29, 2011, turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories. When the results of the three prior Take-Back Days are combined, the DEA, and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed 995,185 pounds (498.5 tons) of medication from circulation in the past 13 months. Please check the website to locate collection sites near you. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html
Sense of Water Intergenerational Contest – Deadline is June 1st
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites the public to submit creative projects to the 6th annual Rachel Carson intergenerational “Sense of Wonder” contest. There are four categories: photography, essay, poetry and dance. This year, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the contest will focus on a “Sense of Water.” Contest submissions are encouraged to focus on the various properties of water – how it tastes, what it sounds like, how it feels – and what water means to the entrants.
"Water means different things to different people, and this contest is a great opportunity for people of all ages to creatively express how water touches their life," said Nancy Stoner, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2012, and winners will be announced in September 2012. A panel of judges will select finalists in each category, and the winners will be determined by a public online vote that will begin in August 2012.Carson is considered to be the founder of the contemporary environmental movement through her landmark book, “Silent Spring.” The contest seeks to spur and instill the same sense of wonder Carson had among all generations. The contest is sponsored by EPA, the Dance Exchange, the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., and Generations United.For more information about the contest and to see the works of previous winners, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/thesenseofwonder/index.htm
Light-rail Neighborhoods Gain Popularity in St. Louis
About 83 percent of St. Louis neighborhoods with light rail access gained population between 2000 and 2010, even as the city as a whole lost residents. Eighty-seven percent of the population gains were in neighborhoods categorized as "very walkable," according to WalkScore.com. Downtown St. Louis, with the highest walk score in the city (92), has gained nearly 3,000 new residents since 2000.For more information, please visit: http://nextstl.com/transportation/mobility-population-change-in-st-louis-neighborhoods

Public 'Food Forest' Planned for Seattle
Seven acres at the edge of a Seattle park are slated to be turned into the nation's largest public "food forest." Beacon Food Forest is designed on permaculture principles, combining the concepts of urban farms, orchards, and natural forest to produce food from trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Food forests have been called the next evolution in urban farming, with Beacon Food Forest notable for its aim to create an edible landscape on public land through community effort. For more information, please visit: http://grist.org/urban-agriculture/into-the-woods-seattle-plants-a-public-food-forest/.
This grant initiative helps cities and towns in the Chesapeake Bay watershed accelerate greening efforts that improve watershed protection, community livability, and economic vitality. The grant program covers the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Focus areas include green streets, green infrastructure, and green jobs as part of community or watershed planning. Grant assistance up to $35,000 is available for infrastructure project planning and design, and up to $100,000 for implementation and construction. For more information, please visit: http://www.sustainablecitynetwork.com/topic_channels/water/article_ace44c82-55f8-11e1-a05f-001a4bcf6878.html?utm_source=SCN+InBox+e-Newsletter&utm_campaign=f50e6f2368-Newsletter_2-8-2012_Vendors&utm_medium=email.
New White Paper Details Innovative Local Delivery of Energy Efficiency
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released a white paper entitled The Role of Local Governments and Community Organizations as Energy Efficiency Implementation Partners: Case Studies and a Review of Trends.  Local governments and community organizations across the country are adopting policies, strategies, and partnerships that promote energy efficiency, save money, and reduce pollution. The white paper, developed by ACEEE and the MIT Energy Efficiency Strategy Project, focuses on the roles of local governments, community organizations, and utilities in developing and delivering energy efficiency programs. The paper presents eight case studies from communities across the country and showcases how local governments and civil society can support energy efficiency efforts through enabling policies and program partnerships.To read the white paper, please visit: http://aceee.org/white-paper/the-role-of-local-actors/

Register your Earth Day Events
 The Earth Day Network invites communities to register their events to help advertise Earth Day festivals across the country. To find out more please go to the Earth Day 2012 site: http://act.earthday.org/.

Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design
Active Design Guidelines provides architects and urban designers with a manual of strategies for creating healthier buildings, streets, and urban spaces, based on the latest academic research and best practices in the field. The Guidelines includes urban design strategies, building design strategies, and discussion of synergies between active design and sustainable design. For more information, please visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/ddc/html/design/active_design.shtml

Designing Healthy Communities - Book and 4-part video online
In Designing Healthy Communities, a 4-hour series available on DVD, host Dr. Richard Jackson looks at the impact our built environment has on key public health indices - obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer and depression. Dr. Jackson connects bad community design with burgeoning health costs, then analyzes and illustrates what citizens are doing about this urgent crisis by looking upstream for innovative solutions. For more information, please visit: http://designinghealthycommunities.org/

Prospering in Place: Linking Jobs, Development, and Transit to Spur Chicago's Economy
With Prospering in Place, the Center for Neighborhood Technology presents a new vision for building economic prosperity in the Chicago region with an analysis that identifies place-based transportation and community development investments that would reinvigorate economic growth. The report documents how past development patterns have harmed the regional economy, and shows how to turn that situation around by exploiting the region's unique assets and advantages. For more information, please visit: http://www.cnt.org/news/2012/02/16/cnt-unveils-place-based-vision-for-economic-prosperity/

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Program Solicitation
Open Date: 03/15/2013  -  Close Date: 05/03/2012
Summary:  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites small business firms to
Submit research proposals under this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Solicitation.  The objective of this solicitation is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small businesses to undertake cutting edge, high-risk, or long-term research that has a high potential payoff if the research is successful.  Federal support of the front-end research on new ideas, often the highest risk part of the innovation process, may provide small businesses sufficient incentive to pursue such research.
EPA is interested in advanced technologies that address priority environmental issues.  This year's solicitation has seven topics grouped into five general areas:  Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (topic includes A. Water), Chemical Safety for Sustainability (topic is B. Innovation in Manufacturing), Sustainable and Healthy Communities (topics include C. Green Building and D. Waste Monitoring and Management), Air/Climate/Energy (topics include E. Air Quality and F. Sustainable Utilization of Biomass), and G. Homeland Security. The proposed research must directly pertain to EPA's environmental mission and must be responsive to EPA program interests included in the topic descriptions in this solicitation.
Centers for Material Life Cycle Safety
EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results program, is seeking applications for an interdisciplinary center focused on the application of a life cycle perspective towards the development of materials. The aim of the center will be to develop methodologies and practices for materials design which applies a holistic perspective. This holistic approach to design, which considers all the stages of a material’s life cycle, provides an opportunity to produce materials which minimize, and preferably eliminate, any associated potential environmental and human health impacts that may occur during the life cycle. The deadline is April 25, 2012. For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2012/2012_star_lifecycle.html.
Centers for Sustainable Molecular Design
EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, seeks applications for an interdisciplinary center focusing on the sustainable molecular design of chemicals.  The aim of the center will be to develop a set of parameters and strategies that will establish design criteria regarding the properties of chemicals that will lead to the development of intrinsically less hazardous substances when compared to those currently used in society.  These newly acquired criteria and design principles will direct researchers towards the generation of novel chemicals that will minimize, and preferably eliminate, associated potential environmental and human health impacts that may occur during the life cycle of that chemical. The advent of these novel chemicals and their respective discovery of correlations between a chemical’s inherent properties and their adverse impacts require the development of improved methods for the design of next generation chemicals. The deadline is April 25, 2012. For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2012/2012_star_molecular_design.html