The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill awaiting the president’s signature is notable both for Congress’ most significant commitment yet to address climate change, and its general failure to do anything to fundamentally change the sources of the problem and reach the level of ambition required. This bipartisan infrastructure deal (the IIJA), approved by Congress on November … Continued
This week the House will consider the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that reflects many of Smart Growth America’s core priorities, including a new kind of transportation bill, billions to invest in new or rehabilitated affordable housing, and support for more inclusive and equitable development around transit to help give more Americans access to opportunity.
Americans from coast to coast have been suffering through one of the worst droughts in decades. Many blame erratic weather conditions for water shortages, while others point to population growth. But that’s not the whole story. Another major contributor to our water problems is the way we develop land. As we pave over more and more wetlands and forests, this new report shows that we are depleting our water supplies. It’s not only the arid West that is facing critical shortages. The rapidly suburbanizing Southeast, blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible water supply, is now in serious trouble, as are many other formerly water-rich regions of the country.
What’s the first thing you think of when you read that word? If you answered, “jobs,” you’re probably here at the Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green for All, just released Water Works: Rebuilding infrastructure, creating jobs, greening the environment. “No group has the potential to hire more people,” Ms. Ellis-Lamkins told the audience of utility managers, engineers, planners and advocates. Energy efficiency may be the focus of green jobs in Washington, D.C., but green energy “has nothing on job numbers” compared to green water infrastructure. According to the new report, adequate investment in green water infrastructure over the next five years could generate $265.6 billion in economic activity and create close to 1.9 million jobs.
Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Philadelphia Water Department signed an agreement to officially begin using green stormwater infrastructure to reduce Combined Sewer Overflows to its waterways. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, speaking at a conference last week, presented the new plan:
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) submitted plans for the project to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) in September, 2009, after vetting the plan with Philadelphia residents. Green City, Clean Waters lays the groundwork for the PWD to build primarily green infrastructure – such as stormwater tree trenches, vegetated bumpouts, porous asphalt, rain gardens, sidewalk planters – over the next 25 years. These projects will transform non-porous surfaces that repel rain into surfaces that allow water to soak through, reducing the amount of environmentally damaging stormwater runoff.
Supported by encouragement and recommendations from Smart Growth America, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new policy in late March to guide how billions in annual federal water funds should be used. The new guidance ensures that water facilities that communities depend on every day aren’t neglected in favor of running new systems out to undeveloped areas, saving taxpayer money in the process.
It’s one of our most basic needs, and one we take most for granted — clean, fresh water. But polluted stormwater runoff, overtaxed sewer systems, increasingly urbanized areas and shrinking forests and grasslands are threatening Americans’ water quality. Tell your Representative to support green infrastructure now!
Across the country, older cities are struggling with outdated water-sewer systems that collect sanitary sewage and stormwater runoff in a single pipe system. When a big storm occurs, the system gets overloaded: sewage combines with stormwater and runs into lakes and streams, causing serious water pollution and health issues. Cities are beginning to turn instead to “green” infrastructure as a viable alternative to addressing combined sewer overflow. Green infrastructure uses plants and porous pavement among other tools as natural ways to filter water, increase infiltration, and reduce stormwater runoff into pipes.
A fishing boat on the Chesapeake Bay. Photo from WikiCommons. The Chesapeake Bay is the country’s biggest estuary — and one of its biggest failures. Despite over 20 years of clean-up efforts, we have barely made a dent in the extreme levels of pollution from which the Bay suffers. In today’s Baltimore Sun, an op-ed … Continued
This is the latest edition of the Washington Update from Smart Growth America. The Washington Update is a typically policy-heavy newsletter covering federal policy developments here in Washington. If you want to know more about the details of policy and would like to receive this regularly via email, you can sign up for it (and … Continued