Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bridgeport one of ten Environmental Justice Showcase Community EPA says

EPA Announces Environmental Justice Showcase Communities

Deb Berlin

November 17, 2009

EPA Announces Environmental Justice Showcase Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced a national initiative to address environmental justice challenges in 10 communities. EPA has committed $1 million to this effort over the next two years.

“These 10 communities will serve as models for the EPA’s committed environmental justice efforts, and help highlight the disproportionate environmental burdens placed on low-income and minority communities all across the nation,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By expanding the conversation on environmentalism, we can give a voice to vulnerable groups that haven’t always had a voice on these issues. Our 10 Showcase Communities will provide lessons for how we make every community a better place for people to live, for business to invest and bring jobs, and for opportunities to grow.”

The selected Environmental Justice Showcase Communities will use collaborative, community-based approaches to improve public health and the environment. EPA will provide $100,000 per project to help address concerns in communities disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. These demonstration projects will test and share information on different approaches to increase EPA’s ability to achieve environmental results in communities.

The following locations will serve as Environmental Justice Showcase Communities:

Bridgeport, Connecticut: EPA will build on work that has already taken place to develop community capacity and engagement, identify a broad network of partnerships, and connect with the goals of the city government. Using this past work as a foundation, EPA plans to work collaboratively with a wide-range of stakeholders to develop projects focused on improving indoor air quality, increasing community capacity for green jobs, increasing recycling rates, and reducing asthma and toxics exposure.

Staten Island, New York: EPA will work with the North Shore of Staten Island, a former industrial community that now contains many abandoned, contaminated, and regulated properties along the waterfront. This neighborhood has seen an increase in the number of kids with elevated lead levels in their blood. EPA, in consultation with key community members and state and local health agencies will develop a community-based health strategy for the area.

Washington, D.C.: EPA is building on its environmental justice work with a variety of partners, such as: the District Department of Environment; the District Department of Health; and, local recipients of Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving and Environmental Justice Small Grant awards.

Jacksonville, Florida: EPA will focus on improving environmental and public health outcomes in an area that consists of a predominantly low income and minority population. This area has a number of Superfund sites, brownfields, vacant and abandoned lots or other properties where contamination is suspected, and impacted waterways. EPA will work with its partners, including environmental justice community representatives, to address sites of concern and turn them into an opportunity for residents to collaborate with developers and revitalize their neighborhoods.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: EPA will work to further the redevelopment of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. The corridor, a former rail line in the north-central part of the city, is home to low income communities of color. This project seeks to improve the human, environmental and economic health of these neighborhoods by redeveloping brownfields along the corridor, implementing environmentally preferable stormwater management practices, and developing urban agriculture.

Port Arthur, Texas: EPA proposes a comprehensive, cross-media pilot project in Port Arthur, Texas, a racially and ethnically diverse population along the Gulf Coastof southeast Texas. This community was severely impacted as a result of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. Through the EJ Showcase Project, EPA will work with partners to strategically target additional work and supplement ongoing efforts.

Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas: EPA has identified 11 neighborhoods in the metropolitan area that have many risk factors including poor housing conditions and increased exposure to environmental hazards. EPA will conduct an assessment to identify specific sources of pollution and will work with neighborhood leaders to prioritize community concerns. Strategies to address these concerns will be developed through these partnerships.

Salt Lake City, Utah: EPA has chosen six neighborhoods in central and west Salt Lake City as the focus of a Children’s Environmental Health and Environmental Justice initiative. The areas include Glendale, Jordan Meadows, Poplar Grove, Rose Park, State Fairpark and Westpointe. EPA selected the areas based on the presence of several environmental risk factors and the community’s support and past participation in addressing environmental issues. The multi-agency initiative will seek to identify and reduce children’s exposure to contaminants from multiple pathways. EPA will work closely with the community and other federal, state and local agencies to identify issues of concern and develop and apply tools to address those issues. The state of Utah has developed a tracking system that will provide baseline health and environmental data and help the partnership achieve results.

Los Angeles Area Environmental Enforcement Collaborative, California: The densely populated communities closest to the I-710 freeway in Los Angeles Countyare severely impacted by pollution from goods movement and industrial activity. In a multi-year effort, a unique collaboration of federal, state and local governments and community organizations will work together to improve the environmental and public health conditions for residents along this corridor. Partners will identify pollution sources of concern to the community, review agency data sources and develop action plans. One goal is to improve compliance with environmental laws by targeting inspections and enforcement at the state, federal, and local levels to address community concerns.

Yakima, Washington: EPA will address multiple environmental home health stressors in the Latino and tribal communities in the Yakima Valley. A coordinated effort between state, local, and non-profit partners will be used to address the range of exposures found in the community, with a primary focus on reducing exposure through contaminated private well drinking water. This will be accomplished by assessing homes with contaminated wells, providing “treatment at the tap” mitigation, and reducing pollution sources through available regulatory tools and best management practices.

Since 1994, EPA has provided more than $32 million in general funding to more than 1,100 community-based organizations.

More information on environmental justice and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities:http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-showcase.html

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spotlight on the jobs crisis conference

In-person attendance to tomorrow's forum, Spotlight on the Jobs Crisis, is filled to capacity. However, the forum will be streamed via the web beginning at 9:00 am.

Go to

Spotlight on the Jobs Crisis

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

9:00 am to 11:00 am (UPDATED TIME)

That the economy is growing again provides hope, but it will not lead to job growth or a lowering of unemployment for many months to come. Therefore, as recovery takes hold, it is ever important that economic policies focus on generating a robust, shared prosperity and millions more jobs as soon as possible. More than fifteen million Americans are out of work, and a third of them have been unemployed for six months or more. Millions more are underemployed.

Moreover, these data obscure what has been a particularly devastating unemployment situation for Hispanic and black workers, whose unemployment rates are at almost 13% and over 15% respectively. EPI estimates that a third of the workforce will be unemployed or underemployed at some point in 2010, with the impact exceeding 40% in minority communities. And, as whole industries shutter with the decline of the manufacturing sector, communities built around good union jobs are withering away.

Join the Economic Policy Institute, in partnership with the AFL-CIO, Center for Community Change, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP and National Council of La Raza, as we shine a spotlight on the jobs crisis and its devastating impacts on workers and their communities. The Recovery Act has made a critically important contribution to alleviating the worse downturn in several generations, but more needs to be done as soon as possible to generate more jobs. With his recent call for a December summit on jobs, it is clear President Obama shares our sense of urgency.

For more information, email events@epi.org.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Connecticut Under-Invests in Pedestrian Safety

1,000 Friends of Connecticut
Connecticut Bicycle Coalition
Connecticut Association for Community Transportation
Connecticut Livable Streets Campaign
Elm City Cycling
Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority
Regional Plan Association
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
The Yale Medical Campus Traffic Safety Group

November 9, 2009

Media Contact: Ya-Ting Liu
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
212.268.7474 / yating@tstc.org

National Report Shows Connecticut Under-Invests in Pedestrian Safety despite Available Federal Funding; Advocates Urge ConnDOT to Make Pedestrian Safety a Priority

A new national report by Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership finds that although 12.6% of total traffic fatalities in Connecticut were pedestrians in 2008, the state spends less than two percent of available federal transportation dollars to make roads safer for walkers, joggers and bicyclists.

The timely report comes in the wake of five pedestrian fatalities and two near-fatalities in the last two weeks in Manchester, Farmington, West Hartford, Hartford and New Haven. These are tragic reminders that roads designed for speeding cars, without provisions for the safety of people on foot or bicycle are killing both pedestrians and motorists.

Advocates said pedestrian traffic deaths are preventable if the state makes minor changes to transportation policies and funding practices.

“While Connecticut has made strides to become more pedestrian and bike friendly over the past year, residents still face significant danger every time they set foot on Connecticut’s roads,” said Ryan Lynch, senior planner and Connecticut coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit policy watchdog organization. “Recent and tragic pedestrian fatalities only reinforce the need for Connecticut Department of Transportation to target resources to make roads safer for all users, including drivers, walkers and cyclists.”

The advocates called on Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) to:
• Prioritize pedestrian safety.
• Create and fund Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors programs.
• Designate at least 10% of federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) money and 10% of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding for programs that prevent traffic injuries and fatalities.
• Implement and expand the Complete Streets legislation passed in 2009.

“In diverse and thriving cities like New Haven, the majority of residents do not drive to work every day. A growing number of Connecticut residents are making the decision to get around their cities and towns on foot, by bicycle or by transit simply because it is so much more convenient than driving. It has been clear for many years that state and federal governments must dramatically recalibrate their transportation investments so that our streets, crosswalks and sidewalks can better serve residents of all ages and abilities,” said Mark Abraham, a Steering Committee member of the Connecticut Livable Streets Campaign.

“As health professionals and students, we believe any sensible effort to stem the rising tide of the obesity, heart disease and diabetes epidemics must consider how to encourage physical activity on the streets of our cities and towns. We applaud the efforts of state and local officials in recognizing the importance of pedestrian safety, but as the Transportation for America report demonstrates, more needs to be done and done urgently,” said Natalie Spicyn and Jonathan Romanyshyn of the Yale Medical Campus Traffic Safety Group.

“One factor that discourages more individuals from using transit is that in many locations walking to and from a bus stop is unsafe, unpleasant or impossible,” said Ron Kilcoyne, General Manager/CEO of Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.

"Although cycling and walking are generally safe and pleasant ways to travel around our cities, urban infrastructure, traffic volumes, and high rates of aggressive and inattentive driving present significant challenges, both actual and perceived, to many street users including children, the elderly, the disabled, and novice or inexperienced cyclists and pedestrians," said Bill Kurtz of Elm City Cycling.



1000 FRIENDS of Connecticut, a Hartford-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting principles of responsible, sustainable economic growth compatible with a healthy environment, seeks a Chief Executive Officer to manage its day-to-day operations. Working with a Board of Trustees, the CEO will be responsible for program development and administration, communications, personnel, budget, and finance.

The purpose of 1000 FRIENDS of Connecticut is to mobilize a broad-based membership representing diverse interests affected by growth and development in Connecticut, including transportation, housing, land use planning and open space, and tax policy. We support, advocate and promote community vitality and encourage growth throughout Connecticut, and we work to expand and strengthen these in Connecticut Communities.

Duties include working with the Board to:
*Facilitate strategic planning for the organization
* Coordinate and manage the organization’s advocacy and education goals
*Coordinate and manage fundraising activities
* Represent the organization in the public eye
*Grow the organization’s public profile
*Oversee budgeting and financial management

Salary commensurate with experience.

Please send cover letter, resume, writing sample, references, and salary requirements to info@1000Friends-ct.org by November 24 (subject line Resume).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes

Can't wait to see how these fixes compare with the model smart growth zoning code being prepared by students at the UCONN Law School this semester!

EPA Announcement below:

Across the country, local governments are searching for ways to create vibrant communities that attract jobs, foster economic development, and are attractive places for people to live, work, and play. But many are discovering that their own land development codes and ordinances often get in the way of achieving these goals, and they may not have the resources or expertise to make the specific regulatory changes that will create more sustainable communities.

To respond to this need, EPA's Smart Growth Program convened a panel of national smart growth code experts to identify the topics in local zoning codes that are essential to creating the building blocks of smart growth. This document, Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes, presents the panel's initial work. It is an evolving document, one that will be regularly revised, added to, and updated, and is intended to spark a larger conversation about the tools and information local governments need to revise their land development regulations.

The document explores 11 "Essential Fixes"; addressing the most common barriers local governments face in implementing smart growth. Topics include mixing land uses, fixing parking requirements, modernizing street standards, managing stormwater, and adopting smart annexation policies, among others. Each Essential Fix describes the problem or barrier and the actions that the community could take to overcome that barrier. These actions are organized as modest adjustments, major modifications, or wholesale changes to give communities options based on their political will, financial resources, and organizational capacity. Communities can apply parts of fixes or multiple fixes or entirely overhaul their codes.

This tool does not include model language, nor is it intended to provide model codes or ordinances (click here to find some specific examples of codes that support smart growth development). The information here, however, can help communities evaluate their existing codes and ordinances and apply the information to create more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable communities. This document focuses primarily on barriers in suburban and urban communities. Similar issues regarding rural development will be addressed in a subsequent document that is planned for release in January 2010.

We intend to continually revise, update, and expand the information provided here. Please send comments, feedback, or suggestions to the EPA project manager, Kevin Nelson, AICP, at nelson.kevin@epa.gov or 202-566-2835.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Field Hearing & Community

Don't you love the term "development community"? I like it almost as much as "environmental community" or "business community" or "nonprofit community".

But we who live in and among all those "communities" know they aren't homogenous groups with single agendas.

We need to be sure that when the "development community" speaks it includes the voices of Connecticut's green builders, sustainable development professionals, affordable housing developers, and includes not-for-profit as well as for-profit developers.

Below is an announcement of a field hearing on the state plan for the "development community".

To The Smart Growth Working Group:

Below is a reminder about a field meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 5th at 3 pm in Wallingford regarding the State Plan of Conservation and Development.

As I mentioned at our last meeting, the Continuing Committee of the State Plan of C&D is following through on one of our bills - P.A. 09-230 - by holding a series of public meetings about how the State Plan is developed and how we can best incorporate Smart Growth principles into the next iteration of the Plan. This meeting was specifically requested by those in the development community as well as from towns to hear about the practical impacts of the State Plan at the ground level. This is the second of three planned meetings between now and the holidays, after which time the Continuing Committee will begin developing a report to the General Assembly about its findings.

A link to directions is included below. Hope you can attend, and feel free to pass this information on to others who may be interested.

Rep. Brendan Sharkey
88th District - Hamden


To All Members of the Continuing Committee on State Planning and Development:

There will be a meeting on 11/5/09 at 3PM at The Willows in Wallingford. This meeting serves as part of the informational hearings we are holding on recommendations to update the State Plan of Conservation and Development. We hope to educate ourselves on how the State Plan affects professionals on the frontline, specifically our engineers and town planners. We ask that all members attend so that we may engage in discussion and get some practical input on the state plan at the local level. For directions to The Willows (located at 751 N Farms Road Wallingford CT) please reference the following link.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Local Elections in 162/169 Towns

Local government is where the rubber hits the road. Find out where candidates in your town stand on compact/mixed use zoning, traffic calming, bike lanes, sidewalks, brownfield clean up, affordable housing, historic preservation, farmland protection and securing priority open space.

Know who you're voting for. Then, VOTE!