Members of the House of Representatives are debating the Interior-Environment appropriations bill this week, legislation that would significantly cut funding the the U.S. Environmental Protection agency and completely eliminate funding for the Agency’s Office of Smart Growth. Smart Growth America strongly opposes these proposed budget cuts, and encourages Members of the House to vote “NO” on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) underscored the importance of the EPA’s Office of Smart Growth:
“Eliminating funding for Smart Growth programs would be devastating for communities across the country. For more than ten years, the EPA’s Smart Growth programs have provided technical assistance, cutting edge research and funding to help communities create a range of housing and transportation choices for residents and businesses. Even more important in today’s tight budget environment, they leverage additional funding through public-private partnerships to help revitalize communities, grow businesses and create jobs. I strongly oppose any efforts to cut these critical programs.”
The EPA’s smart growth programs assist communities on a diversity of projects, like creating a range of housing and transportation choices for residents and workers, growing local economies, protecting the environment and public health, and improving local infrastructure. The rural communities of Driggs and Victor in Idaho, for example, received a Smart Growth Implementation Assistance award to help identify steps to redevelop their downtown economies. Hundreds of other communities across the country have received similar assistance under the smart growth program, but these economically vital efforts would come to an end under the House legislation.
The EPA’s smart growth programs support local communities as they determine how to grow and develop in economically and environmentally sustainable ways. Helping America’s communities develop more sustainably generates jobs, lowers housing and transportation costs and uses the country’s limited public funds more wisely.