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Environmental Protection Agency (Region 7)

Communities Information Digest

*Has this edition of the digest been forwarded to you by a friend or colleague? Would you like to sign up to receive the digest? Please send an email to Tegan Vaughn, Thank you!* May 15, 2013 Find us @ or Note: New items are in *asterisks*.

*Fifth Round of Funding from TIGER Grant Program Announced* U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the availability of $474 million for a fifth round of the highly successful TIGER competitive grant program to fund surface transportation projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or metropolitan area. President Obama has challenged us to make sure our nations transportation infrastructure is up to the job of attracting and supporting businesses and the families that rely on them, said U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood. TIGER 2013 will contribute to increased mobility for people and freight, and economic growth by helping to improve existing and develop new transportation facilities that will strengthen our competitiveness and create jobs. Projects eligible for TIGER grants include highways and bridges, public transportation, passenger and freight rail transportation and marine port infrastructure investments. Grants may range in size from $10 million to $200 million. Grants to rural areas may be for less than $10 million, but must be more than $1 million. No less than $120 million must be awarded to projects in rural areas. For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website: *2013 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grants Announced* Brownfields Area-Wide Planning is an EPA grant program which provides funding to recipients to conduct research, technical assistance and training that will result in an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for key brownfield sites, which will help inform the assessment, cleanup and reuse of brownfields properties and promote area-wide revitalization. Funding is directed to specific areas, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, local commercial corridor, or city block, affected by a single large or multiple brownfield sites. The Brownfields Area-Wide Planning projects are part of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities To see the list and read about the funding recipients, please visit: *Strong Cities, Strong Communities 1st Annual Report* HUD has recently announced the release of the 1st Annual Report of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2). The release of this report marks one year since President Obama established the SC2 Council in order to pilot a new model for the federal government to partner with distressed cities to help them get back on their feet. SC2 is working to improve how the federal government supports distressed cities by increasing their capacity to create and execute locally driven economic development visions and realize more effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Our Annual Report describes SC2s impact in these seven pilot cities and ide ntifies emerging innovations and policy lessons that have the potential to be applied to many other communities working to strengthen their economies. The lessons discussed in this report highlight successes and innovations in job creation and economic development, improved alignment of federal programs, stronger partnerships with philanthropy, and best practices in cultivating a highly skilled and motivated federal workforce. You questions and reactions to this report are welcomed. Please share any comments with Aden Van Noppen at: The release is linked to a White House blog post authored by Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House's Domestic Policy Council and Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. View the blog at: View the report at: *Value-Added Producer Grants Support Local Producers, Biobased Initiatives* Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the selection of 110 grants to agricultural producers and rural businesses that will help create jobs and develop new products. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. "This support will benefit rural businesses and the communities where the recipients are located," Vilsack said. "These awards also will advance USDA's goals to develop a bio-based economy and support local and regional food systems."One hundred and eleven awardees are being selected for USDA Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG). The grants help agricultural producers increase their income by expanding marketing opportunities, creating new products or developing new uses for existing products. The awards include 11 projects involving bio-based products. They include grants to convert: corn stover to anhydrous ammonia; miscanthus fiber, wood and goat manure into biochar and enhanced compost; and sorghum to electricity and fertilizer. For a complete list of Value-Added Producer Grant award recipients selected today, please visit:

Funding Opportunities
May 22: Funders Network Local Sustainability Matching Fund (~ $25,000 -$75,000 per project) May 24: Bikes Belong Community Partnership Grants May 28: HUDs Choice Neighborhoods program Planning Grants May 29: HUDs FY 2013 Sustainable Communities Research Grant Program;jsessionid=VYhVRw9MLDhN6qRtpGy7ymhwJfJQdZpVxrJJlrnp01ZXtFvHhpDZ!1866286003?oppId=2 30694&mode=VIEW *May 30: Multi-Agency Transportation, Land Use, and Climate Change Scenario Planning Project *May 31: Conservation Stewardship Program *June 3: DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER Discretionary Grant program $473.847 million) *June 13: Economic Development Assistance Programs Federal Funding Opportunity;jsessionid=knDpQzXGJ6gWnzy1h6Tn3D1fjKBNK9Fw40vlTDxWx3xrJGpLpCN4!861966415?oppId=208353&mode=VIEW *June 20: DOE Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance June 25: EPA Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes *June 27: DOE Community-scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country *June 28: Rural Business Opportunity Grants July 1: Creating a Climate for Health Request for Applications July 15: 2014 National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant Program Request for Proposals *July 23: Concentrating Solar Power: Efficiently Leveraging Equilibrium Mechanisms for Engineering New Thermochemical Storage (CSP: ELEMENTS) September 10: National Science Foundation (NSF)- Water Sustainability and Climate

Meetings, Conferences, & Events

May 20-24: Strategic Conservation Planning Using a Green Infrastructure Approach Shepherdstown, West Virginia *May 21-22: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announces Conference Toronto, Canada May 29-June 1: Congress for New Urbanism21st Annual Conference Salt Lake City, Utah June 4-5: 2013 LOCUS Leadership Summit Washington, DC June 13-14: Streets as Places New York, New York June 23-26: Transit Initiatives and Communities Conference Atlanta, Georgia June 23-27: Making Cities LivableReshaping Suburbia into Completely Healthy Communities Portland, Oregon *June 24-26: Adaptive Water Resource Management and Infrastructure Workshop Philadelphia, PA July 9-11: National Environmental Health Association Annual Conference Washington, DC. July 21-27: Hands-On PV Experience (HOPE) Workshop Golden, Colorado July 30-Aug. 1: 2013 EPA Community Involvement Training Conference: The Next Generation of Community Involvement Boston, Massachusetts *July 31-Aug. 4: Shadowcliff Sustainable Coordinators Workshop August 13-15: Safe Routes to School National Conference Sacramento, California August 18-21: 2013 International Low Impact Development Symposium Saint Paul, Minnesota September 9-11: Reclaiming Vacant Properties5th National Conference Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 29-Nov. 2: National Preservation Conference Indianapolis, Indiana *November 3-6: Transportation and Development Institute Green Streets, Highways and Development Conference November 18-20: Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference 2013 Sacramento, California November 21: Massachusetts Smart Growth Conference Boston, Massachusetts

Webinars & Conference Calls

Webinar: Pocket NeighborhoodsScale Matters, May 16, 3:00-4:00 pm (EDT) Pocket neighborhoods can engender a sense of belonging and care among neighbors, making them the building blocks of resilient communities. In this webinar, key practices will be shared for introducing small-scale neighborhoods to infill locations. For more information, and to register, please visit: *EPA Webcast: May 22, 1:00-2:00 PM (EDT) Preparing for Extreme Weather Events Workshop Planner for the Water Sector / Adaptation Strategies Guide* Sponsored by EPAs Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative, this joint webcast will highlight the Preparing for Extreme Weather Events Workshop Planner for the Water Sector and the Adaptation Strategies Guide, and how a utility can use them both when developing adaptation plans. It will also highlight utility experiences with the tools. To register, please visit the webcast registration page: *Webinar: Rethinking Asphalt Recycling, May 22, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (ET)* Asphalt producers have been recycling for more than 30 years and recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) has become the number one recycled material in the US with about 67 million tons recycled in 2011. Despite this impressive record in many areas of the country there is more RAP

available than can be used. The limiting factors range from specification limits and equipment capabilities to process/quality control. Register online at: *Live Webinar: Clean Streets Mean Clean Streams, May 23, 2 p.m. (ET) $79.00* Improve your street cleaning and stormwater quality program by joining internationally renowned sweeping expert, Roger Sutherland, as he explores the science behind the relationship between an effective street sweeping program and its ability to significantly reduce pollutants found in stormwater. To sign up for the webinar, visit: *DOE Webinar on Integrating Solar Power into the Grid, May 23, 2:00-5:00 p.m* The Energy Department will present a live webinar titled "Max Tech and Beyond Appliance Design Competition" on Thursday, May 23, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Eight faculty-led student teams from U.S. universities will present their innovative prototype designs and testing results of energy-efficient appliances and commercial equipment. To register to attend the webinar, please visit: *Department of Energy Webcast: May 29, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM (MDT) Tribal Renewable Energy Series Webinar: Regional Transmission Planning* Transmission plans for the Eastern and Western Interconnections and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the eight U.S. regional reliability organizations are expanding existing regional transmission planning activities and broadening stakeholder involvement. In this webcast sponsored by DOE and the Western Area Power Administration, hear about the status of the organizations plans and evaluations of long-term regional transmission needs. To register, please visit the webcast registration page: *EPA Webcast: May 29, 1:00-2:00 PM (EDT) On-site Renewables: Lessons Learned from Idea to Implementation* Organizations across the country continue to make direct investments in on-site renewable energy generation, indicating a long-term commitment to using renewable energy and securing the benefits of reduced electricity price volatility. This webcast, sponsored by EPAs Green Power Partnership, will feature two EPA Green Power Partners, SC Johnson and Coca-Cola Refreshments, that have invested in onsite projects powered by landfill gas and wind, respectively, and highlight the companies experiences from initial investigation of on-site systems to the results obtained once the projects were brought online. To register, please visit the webcast registration page: *Minnesota Department of Transportation Complete Streets Planning & Implementation Guidebook Seminar, June 4, 2013 8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (CDT)* This seminar is a preview of a forthcoming guide, Complete Streets Planning and Implementation at Multiple Scales Guidebook and Case Studies, funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board. Researchers conducted over 100 interviews with planners, engineers, advocates, designers, elected officials, and other key stakeholders. The event will cover examples of complete streets policies, design guidance, engagement strategies, and financing mechanisms that help communities move from policies and plans to on-the-ground projects. For more information, please visit:

Green Schools
*Fourth Grade Students from Ellisville, Mo., to Receive EPA Region 7s 2012 President's Environmental Youth Award* Fourth grade students from the Rockwood School Districts Center for Creative Learning in Ellisville, Mo., have been selected to receive EPA Region 7s 2012 Presidents Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) for their work on an Action4Air vehicle anti-idling campaign to reduce idling at the Center for Creative Learning."These students have demonstrated awesome initiative and tremendous stewardship skills to minimize vehicle idling. This project is increasing the public's knowledge about vehicle idling and motivating parents and bus drivers to shut off cars and buses in the school and bus pick-up lines," said Karl Brooks, Regional Administrator. "This Action4Air project is informing, raising community awareness about air pollution, and improving the health of children. This is an outstanding achievement in environmental protection by the students." The Rockwood School Districts fourth graders set two goals for their project: reduce vehicle idling on campus and spread the message. Students have spread the message about their project through media coverage and the Center for Creative Learnings Action4Air website, created by the students. To be considered for the 2013 PEYA competition in Region 7, applications must be submitted no later than Dec. 31, 2013. For applications, contact Denise Morrison at EPA Region 7s Office of Public Affairs at 913-551-7402, toll-free at 1-800-2230425, or For more information, please visit: *Healthy Schools Webinar: May 21 Sensible Steps To Healthier School Environments - Assessment and Team Building, 3:00 p.m. (EDT)* Join this webinar to explore essential building blocks of a model school environmental health program; evaluate your school health status with the Sensible Steps Quick Assessment; learn how to build an effective environmental health team in your school or district; and discover steps the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in Carrollton, Texas took to enhance environmental health conditions in its schools. To register, please visit: *EPA New Sensible Steps Webinar Series* June 18 3:00 PM Eastern - The Role of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Creating Healthy Learning Environments July 23 3:00 PM Eastern - Integrated Pest Management(IPM): Protecting Children in Schools from Pests and Pesticides August 20 3:00 PM Eastern- Current Issues in Chemical Management, Best Practices for Schools and Districts September 25 3:00 PM Eastern - Cleaning and Maintenance, Sensible Steps for Creating Healthier School Environments October 22 3:00 PM Eastern - Sensible Steps for Energy Efficiency and Waste Reduction in Schools November 19 3:00 PM Eastern - Sensible Steps for Mold and Moisture Control In Schools December 17 3:00 PM Eastern - Renovate Right: EPAs Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program at Schools Participants will receive a certificate of completion for each webinar. 2013 Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) Champion Awards Through support from Genentech and the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Lung Association is excited to launch the 2013 Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) Champion Awards. The AFSI Champion Awards recognize schools that have taken positive strides to create a healthier learning environment using the strategies outlined in the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative. Silver and Gold level winners

are schools that have gone above and beyond to protect the health of their students, faculty and staff. By recognizing schools that have taken a comprehensive approach to asthma management, the Lung Association hopes to increase awareness around childhood asthma, establish a cadre of schools that can share their best practices and experience, as well as expand the number of schools working toward an asthmafriendlier environment. The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative was developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and aligns with their Strategies for Addressing Asthma within a Coordinated School Health Program. By using the recommendations outlined in the AFSI Toolkit, schools can establish a comprehensive asthma management plan that maximizes school health services, provides asthma education, creates a healthier school environment, and ensures all students can participate in physical education and activity. The application submission deadline for the 2013 AFSI Champion Awards is June 15, 2013. For more information, please visit: Register Now for the 4th Safe Routes to School National Conference The 4th Safe Routes to School National Conference will be making its way to sunny Sacramento, CA, August 13-15, 2013. The conference will span three days and include over 50 sessions and many dynamic mobile workshops. Also included are several exciting Special Features that will engage participants and showcase Sacramento's bicycle and pedestrian-friendly streets. An onsite Bike Share program will allow participants the opportunity explore Sacramento's lively downtown and expansive bike trails. Wondering what to do in between sessions? Stop on by the Bike Build project and take part in building new bikes that will benefit local youth. Calling all Youth! The conference will include several opportunities for youth from throughout the region to participate in educational, interactive, fun and informative discussions and conference activities. Registration will open up in early April. Visit the conference web site for more details:

Other Community Related Information & Events

*Conservation Stewardship Program Applications Due by May 31* Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) will provide nearly $175 million in funding for up to 12.6 million additional acres of enrollment this year. "The Conservation Stewardship Program is different than other USDA financial assistance programs," said Vilsack. "CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. It's about conservation activities on the entire operation focusing on multiple resource concerns." Vilsack explained that although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forestland owners interested in CSP should submit applications by May 31 to their local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for this year's funding. Playing a significant part in conserving and improving our nation's resources, producers enrolled an additional 12.1 million acres in CSP last year, bringing the total number of acres to more than 50 million. For additional information, visit the CSP website: *Lawrence, Kansas Turns Vacant Lots into Urban Assets* Community gardens have the potential to beautify vacant lots, augment local food supplies, and enhance the urban environment in a variety of ways. But, successful program management requires careful planning and ongoing support, according to Eileen Horn, sustainability coordinator for Douglas County and the city of Lawrence, Kan. In the winter of 2011, the city surveyed its vacant and underutilized properties,

identified appropriate sites for agriculture, and made these sites available to citizens through an application process. During the 2012 growing season, four pilot sites were opened to the public through partnerships with neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations and schools. The sites include a neighborhood community garden, a youth-focused garden in a city park, a community orchard for free picking, and a market farm coordinated by college and middle school students. In exchange for receiving a free license for use of city property, each applicant created a community benefit plan for their project. For more information, please visit: *EPA Honors Winners of First-Ever Campus RainWorks Challenge* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the four winners of the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a new design challenge created to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that reduce stormwater pollution and support sustainable communities. Example of effective green infrastructure include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. The selected challenge winners are: University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida; Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois; University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri. Teams from Kansas State University, Columbia University, California State Polytechnic Institute at Pomona and University of Texas-Arlington were recognized as honorable mentions for their entries. For more information, please visit: *Shadowcliff Sustainable Coordinators Workshop July 31-August 4* Shadowcliff is teaming with The Sustainable Communities Institute of the National League of Cities to host a Sustainable Coordinators Workshop this summer. Sustainability Coordinators/Managers, City Managers and other professionals addressing local sustainability policies and programs should attend. The Chief Sustainability Officers of Fort Collins, Kansas City, and Flagstaff who have been there and done that and know the challenges as well as the pathways to success will be helping lead the workshops.For reservations and information contact Director Carl Sniffen: For more information about Shadowcliff, visit: *Concentrating Solar Power: Efficiently Leveraging Equilibrium Mechanisms for Engineering New Thermochemical Storage Funding Opportunity* The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative CSP Program is pleased to announce the Concentrating Solar Power: Efficiently Leveraging Equilibrium Mechanisms for Engineering New Thermochemical Storage (CSP:ELEMENTS) funding opportunity, which will provide up to $20 million toward CSP thermochemical energy storage (TCES) research and development. TCES presents opportunities for storing the sun's energy at high densities in the form of chemical bonds. CSP: ELEMENTS is focused on leveraging the science and engineering that drive chemical equilibria to develop and demonstrate TCES systems with the capability for a minimum of 6 hours of thermal storage for use in utility-scale CSP electricity generation. Please feel free to forward this to others who may be interested in the opportunity as well. Key Dates: Required Concept Paper Deadline: 5 p.m. ET, May 23, 2013, Full Application Deadline: 5 p.m. ET, July 23, 2013. For more information and application instructions, visit the CSP: ELEMENTS FOA page: *EPA Announces Winner of the Energy Star National Building Competition* The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winner of its third-annual Energy Star National Building Competition. More than 3,000 schools, businesses, and government buildings across the country competed to see which could reduce its energy use the most in one yearand a New Jersey elementary school emerged victorious. Together, competitors of this years National Building Competition cut their energy costs by more than $50 million, saved more than three billion kBtus of energy, and reduced annual greenhouse

gas emissions equal to the amount of electricity used by more than 43,000 homes. Demarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, New Jersey won the EPAs 2012 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings competition by demonstrating a 52 percent energy use reduction, the largest in the competition. The school identified and addressed a number of mechanical issues and energy management measures that added up to significant energy and cost-saving reductions. For more information on the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition, including top overall finishers and top finishers by building category, an interactive map of competitors, and a wrap-up report, please visit: *Energy Department Announces Projects to Develop Innovative, Advanced Drop-in Biofuels* The Energy Department on April 22 announced nearly $18 million in four innovative pilot-scale biorefineries that will test renewable biofuels as a domestic alternative to power cars, trucks, and planes, and that also meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel. These biorefineries will be in California, Iowa, and Washington. The pilot-scale biorefinery projects selected will use a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae in innovative conversion processes to produce biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and diesel. The projects will demonstrate technologies to cost-effectively convert biomass into advanced drop-in biofuels and assist these organizations to scale up the processes to commercial levels. Recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 50% matching funds for these projects. For more information, see the Energy Department press release: *Green Roofs for Healthy Cities announces conference on the economics of green infrastructure in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 21-22* This conference will bring together leading thinkers and practitioners from across North America who are working on living green infrastructure - with a focus on design practice, economic valuation, the private business case, the public business case and the role of supportive policies and practices. Sponsored by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the conference is geared towards designers, engineers, utility managers, planners, developers and local, regional, provincial/state and national government policy makers. Learn more and register at: *Energy Department Highlights Nissans Better Plants Challenge Project* The Energy Department on April 17 recognized Nissans participation in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge and its showcase project at the companys new energy-efficient paint plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The 250,000-square-foot Smyrna facility, which opened in January, is expected to cut energy use by almost a third compared to its predecessor. As a partner in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge, Nissan North America has committed to reducing energy use in its three U.S. plants by 25% by 2020, affecting 12 million square feet of plant space. For more information, please see the Energy Department press release and the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge website: *Clean Energy Job News Available* Based on announcements about new hiring by companies, cities, and organizations, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) publishes monthly newsletters that document the growth of the clean energy sector. E2 also maintains an online database of clean energy job announcements, searchable by sector, state, or date. For more information, please visit:;jsessionid=57EAAF38946DD62E834C6CE7C6B1DEF4?docName=cleanjobsarchives. *NOAA Updates Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer to include Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia* Being able to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise is a powerful teaching and planning tool. NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer brings this capability to coastal communities. A slider bar is used to show how various levels of sea level rise will impact coastal communities. The

Sea Level Rise Viewer displays potential future sea levels; provides simulations of sea level rise at local landmarks; communicates the spatial uncertainty of mapped sea levels; models potential marsh migration due to sea level rise; overlays social and economic data onto potential sea level rise; and examines how tidal flooding will become more frequent with sea level rise. Additional coastal counties will be added in the near future. However, maps are not available for Alaska due to elevation data accuracy and vertical datum transformation gaps. Access the Sea Level Rise Viewer at: *Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and EKO Asset Management Partners release Creating Clean Water Cash Flows report* This report provides guidance on key strategies that cities can deploy to attract private capital to fund green infrastructure development. Municipalities and state governments can potentially direct billions of dollars of private investment to modernize broken, aging stormwater systems and keep stormwater pollution out of waterways. Natural infrastructure, such as porous pavement, green roofs, parks, roadside plantings and rain barrels, addresses stormwater pollution by capturing rain on or near where it falls. The report, developed in collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, focuses on Philadelphia's innovative Green City, Clean Waters program as a model for stimulating investment in natural infrastructure. The report was produced by the NatLab Consortium, a partnership consisting of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Nature Conservancy, and sustainable asset management firm EKO Asset Management Partners. View the report at: *Energy Information Administration: 2012 Home Energy Bills Lowest Percentage in 10 Years* U.S. consumers spent 2.7% of their household income on home energy bills last year, which was the lowest percentage in 10 years, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) analysis released on April 18. Also, aggregate home energy expenditures by U.S. households fell $12 billion in 2012 from the 2011 level. Warmer weather contributed to lower energy consumption in 2012, and because household energy expenditures reflect prices and consumption, these changes resulted in lower household energy expenditures. On average, households spent $1,945 on heating, cooling, appliances, electronics, and lighting in 2012. This total includes home use of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, propane, kerosene, wood, and coal, but excludes fuels used for transportation. The percentage of household income spent on home energy bills peaked at 4.3% in 1982 and steadily declined until it reached its lowest level since 19732.4% in 1999. See the EIA's Today in Energy: *Federal Highway Administration Livability Initiative Fact Sheets* The following series of fact sheets provide information and examples of how considering livability during the transportation decision-making process can benefit communities. The fact sheet topics include development, safety, health, land use, housing, management & operations, economic development, freight, FHWA programs, and the role of state DOTs. For more information, please visit: *USDA and Dairy Producers Renew Agreement to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Increase Sustainability of Dairy Production* Agriculture Secretary Vilsack recently renewed a historic agreement with U.S. dairy producers to accelerate the adoption of innovative wasteto-energy projects and energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms, both of which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. "Through this renewed commitment, USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will continue research that helps dairy farmers improve the sustainability of their operations," Vilsack said. "This vital research also will support the dairy industry as it works to reach its long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020." President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way strengthening

America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. USDA has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, please visit: *New Interactive EIA Maps Showcase Layers of State Energy Data* The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has launched the most comprehensive, dynamic, and interactive view of the U.S. government's national and state energy data and information currently available to the public. The state energy portal adds a unique visual dimension to each state's energy resources and infrastructure. EIA designed the new portal with a range of users in mind, including policy makers, energy analysts, and the general public, who want to locate and compare state energy data and rankings and customize their own maps and charts, using an assortment of interactive tools. Its comprehensive 30-layer mapping feature provides a dynamic visual representation of energy infrastructure and energy resources at the national, state, Congressional district, or county level. Map layers for Federal lands and Electric Reliability regions are also included. In addition to customizable maps, the portal summarizes each state's ranking of its energy production, consumption, prices, and more. Users can dig deeper into any state's energy profile to learn more about its crude oil and natural gas production, renewable resources, natural gas and electricity prices, and carbon dioxide emissions and compare that data to other states and the national average. For detailed information on any of the 6,300 power plants in the United States, such as the amount of fuel used and monthly output of a specific facility, the portal links users directly to that plant's data in EIA's electricity data browser: *Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Receive $166,500 for Brownfields Redevelopment Planning* EPA Region 7 recently announced City of Council Bluffs, Iowa, will receive $166,500 to develop a plan for brownfields property assessment, cleanup and reuse in its mid-city area. Council Bluffs will use this funding to create a plan and implementation strategy for a project area totaling approximately 70 acres. Council Bluffs has identified the former Katelman Foundry as the catalyst site for redevelopment within its mid-city urban renewal area. This former steel fabrication facility filed for bankruptcy in 2005, and moved its operations out of the neighborhood. The approximately 3.8-acre site presently consists of eight parcels spanning several city blocks. Many industrial businesses that once operated in Council Bluffs mid-city area have either closed or moved to areas more conducive to manufacturing operations. This has resulted in numerous properties exhibiting signs of disinvestment and a general lack of maintenance. For more information, please contact *New database demonstrates benefits of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic energy efficiency programs* The Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED), a project of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), provides a one-stop resource to readily access energy efficiency program data, including energy and peak-demand savings, costs, avoided emissions, and job impacts. The REED database allows users to generate reports and download underlying data showing the impacts of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. REED will help inform a broad range of policy issues, including energy, economic, and air quality planning, and help demonstrate the long-term, moneysaving benefits of energy efficiency investments. Specifically, policymakers, program administrators and other industry stakeholders can use the REED data for a variety of purposes, including comparing efficiency program impacts across states to help identify best practices in efficiency policy and program design, as well as informing progress toward clean air and climate change goals. The database currently includes 2011 electric and gas energy efficiency program data and will expand this fall to include 2012 data from Delaware and the District of Columbia, as well as the states currently in the database. Access the REED Database at: "Lessons from Greening America's Capitals Projects" - Helping Communities Incorporate Green Design Strategies*

EPA's Greening America's Capitals program helps state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green infrastructure strategies. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, EPA provides design assistance to help support sustainable communities that protect the environment, economy, and public health and to inspire state leaders to expand this work elsewhere. "Lessons from Greening America's Capitals Projects" describes five lessons from the first two rounds of Greening America's Capitals projects that can help all communities incorporate green design strategies into their planning and development. As these capital city projects demonstrate, green, sustainable design can create and enhance interesting, distinctive neighborhoods that have multiple social, economic, and environmental benefits. These lessons can help other communities grow and develop in a greener way. Click here to read the pamphlet, and learn more about EPA's Greening America's Capitals program at the Smart Growth website: *Institute for Sustainable Communities' Climate Leadership Academy announces workshop on Adaptive Water Resource Management and Infrastructure on June 24-26 in Philadelphia, PA* The third national Climate Leadership Academy on Adaptation and Resilience will take a closer look at climate-related risks to water infrastructure and explore how new, sustainable business models are improving the resilience of communities' water resources, from water supply to waste water. This workshop is part of the broader Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy, a program that builds the capacity of communities - cities, towns, counties, metropolitan regions, and rural areas - to advance, accelerate and scale-up local solutions to the global challenges of climate protection and sustainable development. While this academy is geared towards serving cities/regions already engaged in developing and implementing local adaptation strategies, it is also open to communities who have yet to begin formalizing an adaptation strategy, but have identified adaptation as a key city focus. Interested local leaders should complete and return the online applications by May 1st. Learn more and apply at: Check Out EPAs Interactive Map- Watch the World Go Green! And Share YOUR thoughts about Earth Day On EPAs interactive map, you can see where you and thousands of others around the world Pick 5 for the Environment. Environmental action means taking the simple steps in the different places where we all live. By choosing five or more of these ideas and sharing your own, you are joining thousands of others who are doing the same! Make your actions count todayon Earth Day! And, watch a video about how Ecoathlete and racecar driver Leilani Munter teams up with EPAs pick 5 Program to talk about some of the simple steps every American can take to help protect the environment. Go to: After that, tell EPA what Earth Day means to you on the It's Our Environment blog. And join EPA Earth Day Twitter chats at USDA Rural Development Celebrates Earth Day by Promoting Water Quality Projects in 32 States As part of USDA's Earth Day celebration, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced support for projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment across the country. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy. "At USDA, we believe it is critical that communities across the country have reliable, clean and safe water," Vilsack said. "This Earth Day, I also encourage communities affected by natural disasters, including those hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, to apply for funding through the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants Program. In all, 43 water and wastewater projects in 32 states will be funded. Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about the role each person can play to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include participation by citizens and governments in more than 195 countries. As part of today's announcement, USDA Rural Development is providing more than $145.2 million to improve water quality and provide a safe

and healthy environment for rural Americans. A complete list of water and wastewater award recipients is located at: EPAs FY 2014 Budget Proposal Maintains the Strength of Federal, State, and Tribal Core Environmental and Human Health Protections The Obama Administration recently proposed a Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014) budget of $8.153 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This request is $296 million below the EPAs budget for Fiscal Year 2012. EPAs FY 2014 budget reflects our firm commitment to keeping American communities across our country healthy and clean, while also taking into consideration the difficult fiscal situation and the declining resources of state, local and tribal programs, said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. Our request takes a balanced approach to funding the agency, including increased investments in more efficient technologies as well as necessary program eliminations or reductions. EPAs FY 2014 request will allow EPA to continue its progress in addressing climate change; protecting the nations air, waters, and lands; supporting sustainable water infrastructure; and assuring the safety of chemicals. EPA will continue to lay the groundwork to transform the way it does business, ensuring the best use of human and financial resources, while continuing to achieve the agencys mission effectively and efficiently. For more information please visit: Energy Department Announces Apps for Vehicles Challenge Winners The Energy Department announced the winners of the Apps for Vehicles Challenge on April 1. The competition asked app developers and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how the open data available on most vehicles can be used to improve vehicle safety, fuel efficiency, and comfort. The Department awarded the Judges' Prize to New York City-based Dash, which developed an app that turns any vehicle into a "smart car," providing real diagnostics and alerts to enable drivers to maximize engine performance, minimize carbon emissions, and save money. The Popular Choice prize went to MyCarma, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, which developed an app that offers a personalized fuel economy estimate based on a driver's unique driving patterns instead of a standard test cycle. Green Button Gamer, based in Boston, Massachusetts, won the Safety Innovation award, and Fuel Economy Coach, based in Augusta, Georgia, received the Fuel Efficiency Innovation award. Entries were judged based on their creativity, innovation, use of open vehicle data, consumer accessibility, and potential to help consumers improve fuel efficiency. See the Energy Department's Progress Alert and visit the Apps for Vehicles Challenge website to download the winning apps. Nevada Deploys First U.S. Commercial, Grid-Connected Enhanced Geothermal System As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today recognized the nation's first commercial enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project to supply electricity to the grid. Based in Churchill County, Nevada, Ormat Technologies' Desert Peak 2 EGS project has increased power output of its nearby operating geothermal field by nearly 38%providing an additional 1.7 megawatts of power to the grid and validating this emerging clean energy technology. Click here for the full story. New Environmental Justice Video and Blog - "Breathing Easier in Chicagoland" Check out the new video Breathing Easier in Chicagoland the latest story in the Environmental Justice in Action blog series. In the newest addition in the 20th Anniversary Video Series by Kimberly Wasserman explaining how she first learned that her son had asthma and how it led to her becoming a community leader to advocate for cleaner air. You also can read her blog post talking about some of the other work her organization, the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, does to address environmental injustices in her community. Check out the EJ in Action Blog:, and view the Breathing Easy in Chicagoland video: Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting

This Interstate Renewable Energy Council report serves as both a prompt for discussing permitting challenges, and as a source of inspiration for communities looking for realistic and effective ways to improve solar permitting while ensuring safe solar installations. View the report at: See the Top 10 Best Complete Streets Policies in the Country In 2012, 125 cities, states and regions passed policies to make streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them. These communities are part of the growing movement to create Complete Streets, and the movement is stronger today than ever before. There are now 488 Complete Streets policies in place across the country at all levels of government. Thats a remarkable achievement. T en policies from 2012 stand out as leaders in the Complete Streets field. The communities have gone the distance to craft exceptional policy language. The National Complete Streets Coalition examined each policy passed last year and scored them based on 10 elements of ideal policy language. In addition to the annual rankings, the new report also contains tips and tools for communities interested in creating a Complete Streets policy of their own. Read the full report at: "PopUp Main Street" Event in Little Rock, Arkansas The Little Rock Chamber of Commerce "Create Little Rock" group and StudioMain hosted "Pop-Up Main Street," a life-sized mock-up that allowed the public to experience an alternate version of the South Main (SoMa) neighborhood of Little Rock, Arkansas, recently. The purpose of the event was to explore some critical questions: what if South Main Street were altered from a four-lane to a two-lane road, divided by a landscaped median, and supplemented with bike lanes? Organizers hypothesized that these changes would improve safety and draw attention to local businesses, revitalizing the neighborhood. Inspired by the burgeoning Better Block initiative, this live experiment invited the public to actively engage in the build-out process of the demonstration and provide feedback in real time. The event focused on the three block section of South Main Street from I-630 to 15th Street and provided an opportunity for the organizers to partner with SoMa residents and business owners to show what the SoMa neighborhood could become. This included temporary lane alterations that provided bike lanes, the addition of a median, more shops, better cafe seating (using wooden pallets to serve as temporary fencing), and increased green space. Hay bales and potted trees were used to show what the street might resemble with additional vegetation and a boulevard type cross-section. The event coincided with 2nd Friday Art Night and continued into Saturday with a festive atmosphere that included music, food, and vendors. For more information, please visit: Walmart's CEO Doubles Down on the Company's Aggressive Bet on Renewable Energy To every environmentalist who ever bad-mouthed Walmart for its big-box blandness and gigantic impervious parking lots, here's some news. The retail behemoth is throwing its full economic muscle behind energy sustainability. Local utilities that don't get on board with Walmart's green energy programs could be left behind like an old, worn-out shopping center. The company's new energy policy, announced this week at its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, calls for Walmart to produce or procure 7 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy globally by the end of the decade, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels. At the same time, the retailer will make deep cuts to its energy consumption by shaving 20 percent from 2010 levels the amount of electricity required to power a square foot of a Walmart store or warehouse. For more information, please visit: Solar Industry Jobs Outstrip Coal Mining California may lay claim to the largest pool of acting talent in the world. But when it comes to total employment, the state's solar industry cuts more paychecks than Hollywood, with an estimated 43,700 people employed in the manufacture, sale, distribution and installation of solar systems, according to a new national database of solar employment. And when measured across all 50 states, the solar industry employs 35 percent more people than coal mining, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures compiled by the Solar Foundation show. In total, the U.S. solar

industry employed 119,000 people in 2012, a 13.2 percent increase over 2011, according to figures compiled from the foundation's National Solar Jobs Census and other sources. For more information, please visit: Climate Fight Needs Businesses to Sway Consumers, says Method Pioneer Stopping climate change and biodiversity loss will not happen without business and marketing professionals, says the co-founder of a pioneering US green cleaning brand that was bought by Ecover last year. Eric Ryan, who launched Method with Adam Lowry 12 years ago before selling it to create a group with combined revenues of $200m (131m) and around 300 staff, told the Guardian that governments were still not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges because of vested interests. "The only way we're going to solve sustainability is through changing consumer behavior. There's too much money at work for government to put enough regulation in place to make businesses change," Ryan said. For more information, please visit: The Future of Standing in Environmental Cases: Trends in the DC Circuit and Beyond The doctrine of standing determines whether any potential plaintiff, from an environmental NGO to a regulated company, can be heard in federal court. But applying the seemingly straightforward elements of injury in fact, causation, and redress that defin e Article III constitutional standing has often proven vexing for courts and litigants alike. ELI invites you to join a panel of legal experts who will take stock of standing jurisprudence in the DC Circuit. They will also offer thoughts on how standing in the DC Circuit may differ from that in other courts, and on what we might expect from the Supreme Court in light of Clapper v. Amnesty International. Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 12:001:30 PM ET at the Environmental Law Institute, 2000 L Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. RSVP at New Report Assesses Potential Improvements to U.S. Hydropower Production The Energy Department today announced a study outlining key improvements that can be made to hydropower production in the United States to provide more efficient and cost-effective electricity to homes and businesses. Developed with funding from the Energy Department, the Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI) report, titled "Quantifying the Value of ydropower in the Electric Grid," identifies and assesses the quantifiable benefits from potential improvements, such as installing turbines that can operate with lower water levels, utilizing new power plant designs that can increase revenue and efficiency, and monetizing the services hydropower provides to the nation's electric grid. For more information, please visit: Participate in the Solar Decathlon 2013 Pavilion The SunShot Initiative invites interested organizations to participate in the SunShot Solar Pavilion at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 in Irvine, California. This award-winning event attracts more than 100,000 visitors as it challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost effective, energy efficient, and attractive. 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference Presentations Now Available! The Local Government Commission has announced that PDF files of presentations given at the 12th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Kansas City are now available online. Use the following link to access this exciting new smart growth resource: Kansas City, Missouri Kick-Starts Green Infrastructure Plan City officials in Kansas City recently announced that they have completed an $80 million green infrastructure investment, which includes new rain gardens, curb extensions, and other green solutions. But the green infrastructure completed so far is just a start. Over the next two

decades, Kansas City plans to spend nearly $4.5 billion to implement its sewer overflow control plan, the largest capital project in the city's history. For more information, please visit: Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places Utilizing a dozen case studies from throughout North America, this new book examines successful strategies employed to introduce new patterns of development into a regulatory, cultural and financial landscape structured to encourage sprawl. Highlighted are downtown redevelopments, new greenfield villages, retrofits and ambitious sustainability experiments. For more information, please visit: Strategic Lessons in Sustainable Community Building This report by Groundwork USA highlights ten case studies from communities that are working to become more equitable and sustainable through community engagement in reclaiming brownfields, urban rivers, and vacant spaces. For more information, please visit: Grants to Help Farms & Ranches Build Resilience to Drought Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the award of $5.3 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to develop approaches and technology that will help producers adapt to extreme climate changes that cause drought. These grants will fund projects benefiting several states that were significantly impacted by last year's drought. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. The grants will address drought-related issues, such as grazing management, warm season forage systems, irrigation strategies and innovative cropping systems. Recipients plan to evaluate innovative, field-based conservation technologies and approaches, leading to improvements like enhancing soil's ability to hold water, evaluating irrigation water use and installing grazing systems that are more tolerant to drought. Summaries of all projects selected for 2013 Conservation Innovation Grants are available at New Funding Opportunity from EPA for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes Information on a new Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Request for Applications (RFA), Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes, which focuses on Climate Change and Indoor Air Pollution and impacts on tribal communities, can be found at This RFA solicits applications on research to develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems that affect Tribes. The RFA is until June 25, 2013. Component research areas include: -Science to understand the health impacts of climate change on tribal populations -Science to understand the health impacts of indoor air pollution exposures that derive from or are directly affecting traditional tribal life-ways and cultural practices -Development of sustainable, culturally appropriate and acceptable pollution prevention, and adaptation/mitigation strategies -Community involvement in the design, acceptance and implementation of the mitigation and adaptation approaches -Focus on impacts to vulnerable sub-populations of Tribal communities For questions please contact Cynthia McOliver ( This newsletter is being provided by EPA Region 7 for informational purposes only. This newsletter contains links to information, agencies, sites, and organizations outside of the EPA website. EPA is not responsible for third party links. EPA does not endorse third party organizations or agencies.