WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced three steps to support communities’ efforts to provide their citizens with economic opportunity while reducing impact on the environment. The actions will encourage state and local government to make their communities more sustainable by strategically aligning their environmental, transportation and housing investments.
The steps EPA has announced are:
· The creation of a new Office of Sustainable Communities to encourage communities to take an integrated approach in making environmental, housing and transportation decisions.
· A new pilot grant program designed to help three states — New York, Maryland and California — use their clean water funding programs to support efforts to make communities more sustainable.
· A pilot program to clean up and redevelop contaminated sites, known as brownfield sites, in coordination with communities’ efforts to develop public transportation and affordable housing.
These announcements build on the work EPA is doing with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Transportation through the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The partnership is focused on ensuring that housing and transportation goals are met while simultaneously protecting the environment, promoting equitable development, and helping to address the challenges of climate change.
The brownfields pilot program represents a key step in that partnership. Together, EPA, HUD, and DOT have selected five pilot sites across the country where there is a convergence of public transit and the need for affordable housing. Cleaning and reusing this land and providing new housing choices will create jobs and new economic opportunities. The five sites selected for the Sustainable Communities Partnership Pilots are the Fairmount Line in Boston; Smart Growth Redevelopment District in Indianapolis; La Alma/South Lincoln Park neighborhood in Denver; Riverfront Crossings District in Iowa City, Iowa; and the Westside Affordable Housing Transit-Oriented Development in National City, Calif.
The Office of Sustainable Communities will help create neighborhoods that offer good jobs, educational opportunities, safe and affordable homes, and transportation options while minimizing their impact on the environment. The Pilot Technical Assistance Program for Sustainable Communities will further that goal by encouraging states to use their Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program to better support communities that adopt sustainable strategies, like transit-oriented, mixed-use development.