Monday, April 21, 2014

EPA U.S. EPA Administrator Kicking Off Earth Week Tour on Climate Action Plan

McCarthy traveling to New York, Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta and Memphis

To learn more about Earth Day and how you can make a difference at www.epa.gov/earthday


WASHINGTON – In recognition of Earth Week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy is taking to the road to ask Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives.

Administrator McCarthy will participate in various events to promote President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and will focus on responsible steps to cut carbon pollution to slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. She will also explain how the plan seeks to decrease the threats to public health and anticipate challenges from severe weather associated with a changing climate, while encouraging clean energy innovation and growth in green jobs.

Details about the events will be made available next week.

MONDAY, APRIL 21, NEW YORK CITY, N.Y.
11 PM EDT: Administrator McCarthy will be a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to talk about President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

TUESDAY, APRIL 22, BOSTON, MASS.12 Noon EDT: Administrator McCarthy will participate in an event at the New England Aquarium with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Aquarium President & CEO Bud Ris, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and teens from the Aquarium’s three youth programs to discuss action on climate change.

7 PM EDT: Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Moniz will throw the first pitch at the Red Sox vs. Yankees Game at Fenway Park.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, CLEVELAND, OHIO10:35 AM EDT: Administrator McCarthy will join the American Lung Association and public health partners for a press conference on health impacts of air pollution at the Cleveland Clinic.

11:30 AM EDT: Administrator will deliver the keynote address at the Climate and Energy Funders Group Annual Meeting.

THURSDAY, APRIL 24, ATLANTA, GA.6:30 PM EDT: Administrator McCarthy will join the Hip Hop Caucus “Act on Climate Tour” to speak about the disproportionate impacts and the costs of climate change.

FRIDAY, APRIL 25, MEMPHIS, TENN.Time TBA: Administrator McCarthy will participate in a media tour of the Partnership for Sustainability’s investments in Memphis with HUD Secretary Donovan and DOT Secretary Foxx. The tour will highlight the impact of Partnership investments in the community.

To learn more about Earth Day and how you can make a difference at 
www.epa.gov/earthday

MEDIA ADVISORY: EPA Holding Events across the Country to Celebrate Earth Week

Agency Encouraging all Americans to take Action on Climate Change

For more information on Earth Day at EPA: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/index.html

WASHINGTON – This Earth Week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is empowering Americans across the country to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives.

Across the country, EPA will be holding events to talk about common-sense action to reduce carbon pollution and promote a cleaner energy economy while ensuring that all Americans have the information they need to act on climate change.

By taking simple actions such as changing a light bulb, powering down electronics, using less water and recycling, we can all reduce carbon pollution. 


For information about specific Earth Week events, please contact regional offices.

Regional Activities Include:

Region 1:
On April 22nd Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding will join
 Administrator McCarthy for an Earth Day event at the New England Aquarium with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Aquarium President & CEO Bud Ris, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and teens from the Aquarium’s three youth programs.
On April 22nd, Region 1 staff will honor individuals and groups for their environmental work at the annual Environmental Merit Awards at Faneuil Hall in Boston.
Region 2:
On April 22nd, Region 2 Administrator Judith A. Enck will join Brooklyn, New York Borough President Eric Adams and Emily Maxwell of The Nature Conservancy to promote the EPA Earth Day #natureselfie photo project in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. 
On April 23rd, Region 2 Administrator Judith A. Enck will host the recipients of the region’s Environmental Quality Awards, presented annually to individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to protecting the environment during the past year. The region will also recognize the winner of the President’s Environmental Youth Award. 

Region 3:
On April 22nd, Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin will speak at a press conference with state and local officials to highlight climate change issues and the proposed Waters of the United States rule in Wilmington, DE.
On April 22nd, Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin will give opening remarks for an Earth Day panel discussion on Smart Cities at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.
Region 4:
On April 22nd, Region 4 Administrator Heather McTeer Toney and staff will celebrate Earth Day with participating in a cleanup effort at the Proctor Creek in Atlanta, GA from 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
On April 22nd, EPA’s Office of Research and Development staff will host the 4th annual Earth Day Science Day at Bethesda Elementary, Nurham, NC.
Region 5:
On April 22nd, Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman will participate in an Earth Day event to honor Kimberly Wasserman of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization with the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

Region 6:

On April 22nd, Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry and EPA staff will co-host an Earth Day webcast with NASA’s Digital Learning Network from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CST. This year’s theme is Climate Change and will feature interactive data from satellites on a high-definition Climate Simulation hyperwall. 
On April 22nd, EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory will host the 10th Annual Earth Day Waterfest at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. From 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST, 4th through 6th grade students will visit and learn about water quality.

Region 7:
On April 22nd
, Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks will present the Waste Wise Award to Sprint executives at Overland Park, KS. 
Region 8:
On April 22nd, Region 8 Administrator Shawn McGrath will deliver remarks at the National Center for Atmospheric Research reception. He will speak about scientific integrity, climate adaptation and resilience, and the National Drought Resilience Partnership, as a front-door for communities in need of help.
On April 22nd, Region 8 staff will host Earth Day Denver 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. MDT at the Wellington Webb building in Denver, CO.
Region 9:
On April 22nd, Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld and EPA staff will hold an event with Congressman George Miller (CA-11) to announce the awarding of nearly $5 million to five projects aimed at restoring water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed.  The event will specifically highlight work at Breuner Marsh in Richmond, CA.
On April 22ndRegion 9 will issue a press release announcing the opening of the nomination period for Region 9’s annual environmental awards, which recognize environmental heroes in the Pacific Southwest. Past winners have included scientists, citizen activists, students, universities, tribes, cities, non-profits and businesses. Approximately 6 to 9 winners will be announced this fall.
Region 10:
On April 22nd, Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran and EPA staff are partnering with the Seattle chapter of Surfrider Foundation and Seattle Parks & Recreation to clean up Golden Gardens Beach & Park in the Ballard area of Seattle.
On April 22nd, Region 10 staff from EPA’s Alaska Operations Office will volunteer at the Alaska Botanical Gardens at1:00 p.m. UTC to help get the garden beds ready.




Thursday, April 17, 2014

EPA Publishes 19th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 19th annual report of overall U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions today, showing a 3.4 percent decrease in 2012 from 2011. The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which is submitted annually to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.

The major contributors to the decrease in emissions from 2011-2012 were the decrease in energy consumption across all sectors in the U.S. economy, and the decrease in carbon intensity for electricity generation due to fuel switching from coal to natural gas. Other factors included a decrease in transportation sector emissions attributed to an increase in fuel efficiency across different transportation modes and limited new demand for passenger transportation.

Greenhouse gases are the primary driver of climate change, leading to increased heat-related illnesses and deaths; worsening the air pollution that can cause asthma attacks and other respiratory problems; and expanding the ranges of disease-spreading insects. Climate change is also affecting the frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, and other extreme weather events.

Under President Obama’s 
Climate Action Plan, EPA is taking steps to address carbon pollution from the power and transportation sectors, and to improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses and factories. This includes increasing fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks for model years 2012-2025 that, over the lifetime of these vehicles, will save Americans more than $1.7 trillion. In addition, we are increasing energy efficiency through the Energy Star program that saved Americans more than $26 billion in utility bills in 2012.

According to the report, GHG emissions in 2012 showed a 10 percent drop below 2005 levels. Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2012 were equivalent to 6,526 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

EPA prepares the annual report in collaboration with other federal agencies and after gathering comments from stakeholders across the country. In addition to tracking U.S. GHG emissions, the inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere through the uptake of carbon in forests, vegetation, soils, and other natural processes (called carbon “sinks”).

More on the greenhouse gas inventory report:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html

Corporate-wide Settlement with Lowe’s Protects Public from Lead Pollution During Home Renovations

WASHINGTON – Lowe’s Home Centers, one of the nation’s largest home improvement retailers, has agreed to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide compliance program at its over 1,700 stores nationwide to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities, as required by the federal Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The company will also pay a $500,000 civil penalty, which is the largest ever for violations of the RRP Rule.

The settlement stems from violations, discovered by EPA inspectors, of the RRP Rule’s recordkeeping and work practice standards at private homes that had been renovated by Lowe’s contractors. EPA enforces the RRP and other lead rules to protect children and others who are vulnerable to exposure to lead dust that can cause lead poisoning.

“Today’s settlement sends a clear message to all contractors and the firms they hire: Get lead certified and comply with the law to protect children from exposure to dangerous lead dust,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Lowe's is taking responsibility for the actions of the firms it hires, and EPA expects other contractors to do the same.”

“Today’s settlement requires Lowe’s to institute a robust, nationwide program at over 1,700 of its stores to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform renovation projects, like window and door installation, are properly certified and adhere to practices that help prevent lead contamination in customers’ homes,” said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This action, the first of its kind to address lead safe work practices on a system-wide basis, will help prevent children’s exposure to lead in communities across the nation by raising home improvement contractors’ awareness of EPA’s lead safety regulations and contributing to a culture of compliance.”

EPA discovered the violations through a review of records from projects performed by renovators working under contract for the following Lowe’s stores: Alton, Ill.; Kent and Trotwood, Ohio; Bedford, N.H.; Southington, Conn.; South Burlington, Vt.; Rochester, N.Y.; Savannah and Lebanon, Tenn.; Boise, Idaho Falls, and Nampa, Idaho; and Muldoon, Ark.

The government complaint alleged that Lowe’s failed to provide documentation showing that specific contractors had been certified by EPA, had been properly trained, had used lead-safe work practices, or had correctly used EPA-approved lead test kits at renovation sites. Additionally, EPA’s investigation found that Lowe’s had also failed to ensure that work areas had been properly contained and cleaned during renovations at three homes. EPA’s investigation was prompted by tips and complaints submitted by the public.

In addition to the civil penalty, Lowe’s must implement a comprehensive compliance program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work for its customers comply with the RRP Rule during renovations of any child-occupied facilities, such as day-care centers and pre-schools, and any housing that was built before 1978. For these projects, Lowe’s must contract with only EPA-certified renovators, ensure they maintain certification, and ensure they use lead safe work practices checklists during renovations. In addition, Lowe’s must suspend anyone that is not operating in compliance with the rule, investigate all reports of potential noncompliance, and ensure that any violations are corrected.

The RRP Rule, which implements the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, is intended to ensure that owners and occupants of housing built before 1978, as well as any child-occupied facilities, receive information on lead-based paint hazards before renovations begin, that individuals performing such renovations are properly trained and certified by EPA, and follow specific work practices to reduce the potential for lead-based paint exposure. Home improvement companies such as Lowe’s that contract with renovators to perform renovation work for their customers must ensure that those contractors comply with all of the requirements of the RRP Rule.

Lead-based paint was banned in 1978 but still remains in many homes and apartments across the country. Lead dust hazards can occur when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted during home renovation and remodeling activities. Lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing.

In February 2014, EPA announced enforcement actions that require 35 renovation firms and training providers to take additional steps to protect communities by minimizing harmful lead dust from home renovation activities, as required by the RRP Rule. Those settlements generated a total of $274,000 in civil penalties.

Renovators that are certified under EPA’s RRP Rule are encouraged to display EPA’s “Lead-Safe” logo on worker’s uniforms, signs, websites, and other material, as appropriate. Consumers can protect themselves by looking for the logo before hiring a home renovator.

Lowe’s operates over 1,700 stores throughout the U.S., with over 120 additional stores located in Canada and Mexico. Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, formerly known as Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. and Lowe’s HIW, Inc., is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.

The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Notice of the lodging of the consent decree will appear in the Federal Register allowing for a 30-day public comment period before the consent decree can be entered by the court as final judgment. To view the consent decree: 
www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html

EPA Announces Winner of Annual Energy Star National Building Competition

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that an elementary school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has won the annual Energy Star National Building CompetitionBattle of the Buildings. Teams from more than 3,000 buildings across the country spent the past year competing to obtain the greatest reduction in energy use. Claiborne Elementary School won by cutting its energy use nearly in half. 
“When we save money on energy costs and increase energy efficiency, we all win,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “I congratulate the competitors and finalists for their dedication to reducing emissions and carbon pollution, and for their leadership in increasing energy efficiency to combat the impacts of our changing climate.”

In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for buildings to cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020, the competition targeted wasted energy in buildings and motivated building owners and occupants to improve energy efficiency, reduce harmful carbon pollution, and save money. 
Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year.
Together, competitors in this year’s National Building Competition saved more than $20 million and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 metric tons—equal to the annual electricity use of nearly 18,000 homes. Many organizations used the competition to involve people—such as staff and students—who might not ordinarily be engaged in such efforts.
Teams from more than 25 different types of commercial buildings faced off in this year’s Energy Star National Building Competition, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nearly 50buildings demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater in a single year.

The top overall finishers and their percentage-based reductions in energy use include:
Claiborne Elementary School, Baton Rouge, La.                                                 45.9%
Hillside Center II, Columbia, Md.                                                                          37.1%
Lake Local - Lake High School/Wellness Center, Uniontown, Ohio                      36.2%
UNC-Chapel Hill Bioinformatics Building, Chapel Hill, N.C.                                  35.8%
High Construction Company Building 105, Mechanicsburg, Pa.                           35.3%
JCPenney, Shawnee, Okla.                                                                                 33.9%
Studebaker Elementary School, Des Moines, Iowa                                              31.9%
McCombs Middle School, Des Moines, Iowa                                                        29.7%
Eastman Chemical Company Building B-470, Kingsport, Tenn.                            29.6%
Eastman Chemical Company Building B-469, Kingsport, Tenn.                            29.6%
South Greene High School, Greeneville, Tenn.                                                    29.2%
Fourth Walnut Centre, Cincinnati, Ohio                                                                29.2%
DeBusk Elementary School, Greeneville, Tenn.                                                  29.1%
University of Florida's Physical Plant Division Central Stores, Gainesville, Fla.   29.0%
West Middle School, Shelbyville, Ky.                                                                   28.9%
The winner, Claiborne Elementary School, taught students and teachers what actions they could take every day to save energy. Suggestions included adjusting thermostats, keeping doors and windows closed when the heat or A/C is on, turning off lights when they are last to leave a room, and making sure all electronic devices are shut off at the end of each day. The school also fine-tuned automated controls of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and lighting systems, making sure that lights were turned off in unoccupied areas and that the heating and cooling systems were optimized to run only when necessary.

The fourth annual Energy Star National Building Competition measured energy performance for the entire 2013 calendar year. Competitors tracked their buildings' monthly energy consumption using EPA's online energy tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The energy use reductions for each top finisher were verified by an independently licensed professional engineer or registered architect at the end of the competition.

Thousands of businesses and organizations work with EPA’s Energy Star program and are saving billions of dollars, preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved an estimated $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 38 million homes. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the Energy Star label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the Energy Star label.

More information on the 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: 
http://www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings

Thursday, April 10, 2014

EPA Releases Top 25 List of Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings

Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York, San Francisco make top five, cutting energy costs while increasing efficiency, protecting health, reducing pollution

WASHINGTON – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the sixth annual list of thetop 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings. The cities on this list demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits achieved by facility owners and managers when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their buildings.

The Top 10 cities on the list are: Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; New York; San Francisco; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Philadelphia; and Houston.

"Not only are the Energy Star top 25 cities saving money on energy costs and increasing energy efficiency, but they are promoting public health by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings,” said Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Every city has an important role to play in reducing emissions and carbon pollution, and increasing energy efficiency to combat the impacts of our changing climate.” 

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. Energy Star certified office buildings cost $0.50 less per square foot to operate than average office buildings, and use nearly two times less energy per square foot than average office buildings.

The data also show that more than 23,000 buildings across America earned EPA’s Energy Star certification by the end of 2013. These buildings saved more than $3.1 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use from 2.2 million homes.

First released in 2008, the list of cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings continues to demonstrate how cities across America, with help from Energy Star, are embracing energy efficiency as a simple and effective way to save money and prevent pollution. Los Angeles has remained the top city since 2008 while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year. Atlanta moved up from the number five to number three. For the first time, Philadelphia entered the top 10, ranking ninth.


Commercial buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Many types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, hotels, and retail stores.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved an estimated $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 38 million homes. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the Energy Star label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants have earned the Energy Star label.


The 2014 Energy Star Top Cities are:

1. Los Angeles
2. Washington, DC
3. Atlanta
4. New York
5. San Francisco
6. Chicago
7. Dallas-Fort Worth
8. Denver
9. Philadelphia
10. Houston
11. Charlotte
12. Phoenix
13. Boston
14. Seattle
15. San Diego
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul
17. Sacramento
18. Miami
19. Cincinnati
20. San Jose
21. Columbus, Ohio
22. Riverside, Calif.

23. Detroit
24. Portland, Ore.
25. Louisville

More on the 2013 top cities: www.energystar.gov/topcities

More on Energy Star certified buildings: www.energystar.gov/buildinglist

More about earning the Energy Star label for commercial buildings: www.energystar.gov/labeledbuildings

R087

Friday, April 4, 2014

USDA, EPA Partner to Improve Access To Clean Water, Improved Infrastructure in U.S.-Mexico Border Region

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a joint initiative to improve access to clean water and wastewater infrastructure for U.S. communities along the Mexico border.This initiative is part of USDA and EPA’s ongoing partnership to increase the sustainability of rural drinking water and wastewater systems.

“For many living along the U.S.-Mexico border, access to safe, reliable water and wastewater treatment - something that most Americans take for granted - is nonexistent,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said.  “We cannot tackle the problem of persistent poverty in the region without first addressing these stunning infrastructure failures, which have serious health, environmental and economic consequences. The resources provided through USDA and EPA will help mitigate health and environmental risks, advance economic development, and improve the quality of life for families living in the region."

“Americans deserve access to clean drinking water and adequate wastewater systems,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA is proud to partner with USDA to help communities along the border tackle serious environmental and public health concerns.”

Many border communities lack the funds to build or rebuild their drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.  Failing wastewater systems can significantly harm the environment, spilling untreated wastewater into streets, streams and rivers, and forcing raw sewage to back up into homes.  Failing and inadequate water systems can harm community health by increasing the risk of water-borne illnesses such as 
salmonella and hepatitis A and gastrointestinal diseases.

USDA and EPA have conducted an initial needs assessment for water and wastewater infrastructure in the border region.  The findings are published in the U.S. [FJ-RWD1] Mexico Border Scoping Assessment Phase 1 Report. The report identified communities in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas that need improved water infrastructure and/or face environmental and/or public health risks associated with inadequate or failing water infrastructure systems.

USDA plans to award up to $500,000 through Rural Development’s Technical Assistance and Training Grant program to a private, non-profit group for an in-depth priority assessment of the counties identified in the report.  The assessment will include recommendations on the best way to deliver technical assistance. USDA anticipates that this analysis will be completed in late 2014.

Based on this analysis, USDA and EPA will target technical assistance to the neediest communities and establish partnerships to provide or improve access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

This initiative is part of USDA and EPA’s ongoing partnership to increase the sustainability of rural drinking water and wastewater systems.  Through this effort, USDA and EPA are helping rural communities implement strategies and tools to protect public health, improve water quality and create sustainable communities. This partnership has produced tools such as the Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management. It provides a step-by-step guide for sustainable operation and management of small water and wastewater systems. The partnership has also produced theWorkshop in a Box manual, which provides materials to technical assistance providers who would like to market and conduct workshops based on the guidebook.

USDA has invested more than $125 million in water and waste projects in colonias since the start of the Obama Administration. USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative is utilizing the full array of resources in the poorest parts of rural America, including the colonias along the border.
 Colonias are small, rural communities along the border, some in federally-recognized Native American tribal areas, that have not had regular access to water and modern sanitation systems because that type of infrastructure was not required to be installed at the time the properties were sold and their houses built.

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.

For details on how to apply for this grant, see the April 4 Federal Register: The Federal Register URL will be added to this release on April 4.

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.

For the Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management, visit:
 http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/upload/SUSTAINABLE-MANAGEMENT-OF-RURAL-AND-SMALL-SYSTEMS-GUIDE-FINAL-10-24-13.pdf

For the Workshop in a Box manual, visit: 
http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/upload/WORKSHOP-IN-A-BOX-FINAL-SUSTAINABLE-MANAGEMENT-OF-RURAL-AND-SMALL-SYSTEMS-9-19-13ll-Systems-Workshops.pdf