Details of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013, introduced today by Senators Lautenberg, Inhofe, Udall and Crapo, would improve the way the federal government supports brownfields redevelopment in the United States. Here’s how.

The Act reauthorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program, and improves the program’s ability to support local economic development. If passed, the bill would modernize and improve key elements of the program, and would provide additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields. It makes a number of improvements recommended by the National Brownfields Coalition, which is comprised of a broad set of stakeholders, including local governments, developers, and community redevelopment organizations.


Complete Streets in the States: A Guide to Legislative Action

A state legislation toolkit, produced by AARP in coordination with the National Complete Streets Coalition, offers additional guidance and materials that may be used in a statewide Complete Streets effort. It includes the below model legislative language as well as the reasons for the use of that language. Contents include comments on existing state legislation related to Complete Streets, information on potential partners that might support Complete Streets efforts, basic strategic guidance and resources, and insight into ways five states are working toward the implementation of Complete Streets policies.

Complete Streets

Support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

When cities, towns and suburbs plan their future transportation, housing, water and sewer infrastructure and public services strategically, they save money and so does the federal government. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between the EPA, DOT and HUD, is about making that type of planning possible. 45 regions containing 80 million Americans in rural, suburban and urban communities are already benefiting from the Partnership programs.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on funding for the Partnership tomorrow, and now is a crucial time to ask your Senators to support these programs. Calling your members of Congress is simple and only takes a few minutes: click here to find out how to call your Senators.


"Advocacy Training 201" webinar materials now available online

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar earlier this week, “Advocacy Training 201.” Telling Members of Congress about your projects and the benefits of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a crucial part of supporting these valuable federal programs.

Christopher Coes, Manager of LOCUS, provided additional training on how to talk about your project, The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, and Member of Congress meetings. The webinar also included a simulated in-district meeting with a Member of Congress, which can be viewed below.

As we’ve mentioned before, August recess is one of the best times to meet with your member of Congress (or their staff) to discuss the importance of the Partnership on the ground in your community and to our nation as a whole. To help you make these meetings happen, we have a toolkit available on the Partnership Blog and we are more than happy to assist you with scheduling or provide more infomation. Please contact Melissa Schreiber-Stahl at mschreiberstahl [at] smartgrowthamerica [dot] org with questions or to request scheduling help.


Join us on Monday, August 8th for "Advocacy Training 201"

In the next few days, Members of Congress will return to their districts and states to meet with constituents like you. As you know, the Partnership is under threat in the current budget cycle, so it is extremely important that you meet with your Members of Congress while they are in your home state during August. By meeting with your Senators and Representatives from the districts your project covers, you will help to show the positive impact of the Partnership and its future potential.

Should you choose to meet with one or more of your Members, we are here to support you every step of the way. Join us on Monday, August 8, 2011 from 3-4 PM EDT for “Advocacy Training 201,” which will include a simulated meeting with a Member of Congress.


House prepares to vote on bill that would eliminate funding for EPA Office of Smart Growth

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 this week.

Tell your Representative to oppose these cuts: click here to send a letter now.


Join us Thursday: Tips for effective advocacy

Beginning at the end of June, Members of Congress will be back at the offices in their home states meeting with constituents. This is a great opportunity to tell your representatives about your support for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Join us on Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 2-3 PM EDT to learn tips for successful advocacy. Click here to sign up for this training.

Among the techniques discussed in this webinar will be how to schedule and hold a successful meeting with your Members of Congress, how to engage others and bring a group to the meeting, and how to effectively talk about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and its benefits.

Sign up today for Smart Growth America’s advocacy training: click here to register.

Can’t schedule a meeting for this recess? That’s ok. You can still learn useful information from this training opportunity and schedule a meeting in your district office at any time! Contact jholmberg [at] smartgrowthamerica [dot] org or 202-207-3355 x121 with any questions.

You can learn about trainings like this before they happen: Click here to join the Sustainable Communities Network.


Call Congress TODAY to protect the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

As debate over 2011’s federal budget continues to rage in Congress, funding for two major programs in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities are at risk of being completely eliminated. If you support the smart growth work being done by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, please take a minute TODAY to call your Members of Congress to express your opposition to these cuts.

Here’s how to be an on-the-phone advocate to your Members of Congress:

  1. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office of your Senator or Representative. The switchboard will connect you directly. Not sure who you members of Congress are? Click here to find out.
  2. Once transferred, introduce yourself with your name, organization or business and location. Explain that you support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities in both the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Continuing Resolution and FY 2012 Appropriations, and that you oppose:
    • Retraction of the Department of Transportation’s unspent TIGER grant funds;
    • Policy riders that would prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development from continuing its work with the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

    (Want to know more about these issues? You can find more information and talking points here.)

  3. Thank the staff member and end the call. Repeat steps one through three with your other Members of Congress.
  4. Share this alert with your friends and colleagues. Encourage them to tell their Congressional representatives about their support for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

This week is the time to act. Please call your Members of Congress today to express your support for these important federal programs.