Though threatened, EPA's smart growth office wins praise nationwide

Since its inception more than 10 years ago, EPA’s Smart Growth program has won praise from city and state leaders across the country for their work advising communities in the creation of local plans to embrace growth in a smart and sustainable way, cutting down on pollution, emissions, and vehicle miles traveled. As Alan Greenblatt wrote in a recent Governing Magazine article, “In contrast to many EPA programs, which concern themselves with regulatory fiats, the smart growth office acts in an advisory role, conducting research, handing out grants, and collating and presenting information to local officials making land-use decisions. The program is popular just about everywhere.”

The highly-lauded program has faced the chopping block before, and is in jeopardy once more in the 2008 Bush budget. The Hartford Courant editorialized in favor of the program this week, urging President Bush to “increase the program’s budget, not kill it,” In the effort to create walkable places where people can meet their daily needs without long commutes in the car, meeting the President’s goals of reducing dependence on foreign oil and cutting greenhouse gases, “the EPA is showing towns across the country how to create such places.”

Read the Hartford Courant editorial | Read the Governing Magazine article (scroll down)| Visit the EPA’s Smart Growth page