Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Local Government

Local Government Technical Resources

Local governments play a critical role in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions — below are a few resources to support cities and counties with limited staff and fiscal capacity to initiate Climate Action Plans.

Cool Planet Project

The Climate Registry administers an energy efficiency and climate change mitigation program called the Cool Planet Project with electric and gas utilities throughout North America.  The Cool Planet Project is funded by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric and funds funds the following for “utility customers” (e.g. local governments) FOR FREE for the first year of participation:

  • One year membership in California Climate Registry (for GHG inventory)
  • Third party verification of GHG inventory
  • Public relations services provided to communicate environmental leadership to the public
  • Strengthens an organization’s voice among industry peers and national policy makers

Cool California

Cool California is a partnership of the State of California Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, Public Utilities, and University at Berkeley.  Its mission is to provide all Californians with the tools they need to take action to protect the climate and keep California cool.  The partnership has developed a Local Government Toolkit to identify cost saving actions, financial resources, and case studies to assist local governments with achieving GHG emission reductions.  Cool California provides resources to local government to establish baseline GHG emission inventories and guide the development of a Climate Action Plan.

Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC)

The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative is a new alliance to help cities and counties reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. SEEC is a collaboration between three statewide non-profit organizations and California’s four Investor Owned Utilities.

SEEC Members:

SEEC provides education and tools for climate action planning, venues for peer-to-peer networking, technical assistance and recognition for local agencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.  The collaborative effort is designed to build upon the unique resources, expertise and local agency relationships of each non-profit organization, as well as those of the four investor owned utilities.


Categories
California Policy Education/Webinars Local Government NewsFlash

Strategic Growth Council to Host “Smart Schools for Sustainable Communities: Aligning Sustainable Communities Planning and Public Education in California” — August 31

On August 31, 2010, in Sacramento, the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) will host our first policy roundtable: Smart Schools for Sustainable Communities: Aligning Sustainable Communities Planning and Public Education in California, in Sacramento. One of the statutory objectives of the SGC is to recommend policies and investment strategies and priorities  to the Governor, the Legislature and other state agencies. We as Californians highly value education and invest billions of dollars in constructing and operating our schools. Community quality and schools are intricately connected and greatly impact our children’s future. Yet, we have not thought strategically how we can connect our investment in building schools to leverage state goals in other areas including improving the quality of our communities, the environment, and the health of our children. I hope that you can join me for an interactive dialogue with state wide decision makers that I know will be engaging and informative.

Date: August 31, 2010

Time: 1-5pm

Location: Health Professions High School, 451 McClatchy Way, Sacramento, CA 95818 (Map/Directions: here)

GOALS

The overall goal of this half-day meeting is to bring together statewide leaders in education, planning, and policy to discuss promising strategies for connecting schools to the creation of healthy, sustainable communities in California. Our three key objectives include:

1. Learn about the federal Housing and Sustainable Communities programs and their connections to education

2. Identify key opportunities to better link schools to the creation of sustainable communities in California, including

  • integrating schools into regional Sustainable Communities Strategies and local planning activities
  • school siting, design, and green construction policies
  • linking school curriculum and sustainable communities

3. Suggest policy strategies to leverage opportunities for improving educational experiences and realizing sustainable communities

BACKGROUND

California has been making tremendous financial and policy investments in improving educational quality and in making our cities and regions more livable and economically sound. Although schools and community quality are intricately connected, rarely do we think about linking policies across these sectors. This forum begins a conversation of doing so, building on recent statewide activities including the Senate Bill 375, federal Sustainable Housing and Communities Program, Senate Select Committee on School Facilities, and the California Department of Education’s new vision and guiding principles for school facilities that enhance achievement for all students.

This invitational state policy roundtable brings together the work of state, regional, and local agencies in the planning of sustainable communities and presents a unique opportunity to leverage California’s ongoing investments in educational innovations and school facilities. As state policy leaders and local communities work towards creating more economically resilient, vibrant, and sustainable communities, young people, and schools can, and should, play important roles.

The event is a collaboration between the Strategic Growth Council, California Department of Education (CDE), UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities & Schools, and other partnering state agencies.

This meeting will be limited in size to ensure that we have time and space to dialog and learn from one another. If you are able to join us, please RSVP to Anna Marie Young (annamarie.young@opr.ca.gov) by August 25, 2010.

An event description and tentative agenda are linked here: 2010 Smart Schools Aug 31 Agenda

I hope to see you on August 31st,

Heather Fargo

Executive Policy Officer
Strategic Growth Council

Categories
Local Government Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

A Sidewalk to Nowhere: White House Administration Highlights Priorities for Sustainable Community Grant Applicants

It’s not every day you hear the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy from the US Department of Transportation describe transportation as a “means to an end, not the end itself.” Today the White House Office of Urban Affairs hosted a video panel / live chat on Facebook, including leaders from the Sustainable Communities Partnership — which has made available the $700+ million in grants for sustainable community planning. The panel included Beth Osborne (DOT), Shelly Poticha (HUD), and Tim Torma (EPA) and much of the discussion focused around what the Partnership is looking for in grant applications from local government.

Beth Osborne laid out clearly that the “purpose of transportation is to support opportunity” and that while the history of the transportation program has focused on fixing problems by retrofitting roads, DOT is now looking to fund projects that: “do more than slap down a sidewalk because it doesn’t matter how far you walk down a sidewalk if there’s nothing to walk to.” Osborne characterized the types of projects the Sustainable Community Partnership wishes to fund through federal grant programs by the ability to answer if you can walk somewhere to get a pizza in your community.

I’ve included some highlights below to share with those local governments applying or considering applying for the HUD Community Challenge Grants, DOT TIGER II Discretionary Planning Grants, HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants, or EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grants.

Highlights include:

  • an emphasis on the Livability Principles;
  • creation of “Preferred Sustainability Status;”
  • investment priorities in existing rather than new communities;
  • updates to local zoning codes to facilitate private investments in development;
  • need for more technical resources such as those at www.epa.gov/smartgrowth; and
  • TIGER grants, DOT Strategic Plan, and Transportation Reauthorization to prioritize: livability, state of good repair, economic competitiveness, and safety for all users.

Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23 and applicant registration must be submitted by July 16.

Read more and view the Federal Grant Flow Chart and Matrix at the links below:

Categories
GHG Reduction Local Government NewsFlash Research Transportation Funding US DOT

UC Davis Seeks Partnerships with Local Governments on HUD/DOT Grants

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Local Climate Policy for Transportation

The UC Davis Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) aims to support the design and implementation of new land use and vehicle demand policies through research, education, and public outreach. The Center’s results-oriented research illuminates the relationship between land use, transportation, and the environment. Models and methods developed at ULTRANS will support the development of policies that encourage sustainable cities and regions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector can be addressed in three basic ways: reducing the carbon content of fuels, improving vehicle fuel economy, and changing individual travel and vehicle choices to be more climate-friendly. Local and regional climate policies focus on the third category of emission reduction strategies – encouraging behavioral change. In California, most local and regional governments are currently experimenting with programs to reduce the carbon footprint of their communities, in response to state policy established in Senate Bill 375 in 2008. However, rigorous evaluation of program effectiveness remains uncommon. This project aims to help change this situation.

Program evaluation studies are commonplace in many fields of applied research, especially when behavioral change is the program goal. These studies are designed to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs in achieving measurable goals. Often, program evaluation studies are done during a pilot or demonstration phase of the program so that the research results can be used to fine tune the program before it is expanded to apply to a larger population.

ULTRANS aims to conduct pilot evaluations of the effect of programs in each of the above categories on greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers will then use these program evaluation experiences to develop standard methodologies that practitioners across the nation can use to evaluate the performance of their own programs. To accomplish this, ULTRANS is looking to partner with local governments that are currently implementing programs in each of the following categories.

The universe of local climate policies that address transport sector emissions can be divided into six categories:

  1. Encouraging “smart growth” land use to bring origins and destinations closer to each other, e.g. infill projects, strip mall redevelopment projects;
  2. Restricting parking through fees and/or supply changes, e.g. downtown parking meters, satellite parking facilities;
  3. Encouraging alternative modes (including carpools) by making them cheaper, safer, faster, and more convenient, e.g. real-time information at bus stops, bicycle boulevards;
  4. Restricting driving through pricing and/or supply changes, e.g. reduced speed limits, selected road “diets”;
  5. Implementing “soft measures” that utilize social norms and peer pressure to achieve behavior change; and
  6. Encouraging the use of lower carbon technologies, both fuel efficient vehicles and low-carbon fuels, e.g. targeted rebates, preferential parking.

Please contact the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center via email if you are interested in collaborating on this initiative:

Deborah Salon, Research Economist – ddsalon@ucdavis.edu

Susan Handy, Professor – slhandy@ucdavis.edu [out of office until July 19]

Categories
Education/Webinars Local Government Publications SB 375

California Institute for Local Government Resources

Funded in part by the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities, the Institute for Local Government‘s mission is to “promote good government at the local level by promoting well-informed, ethical, inclusive, effective and responsive local government in California through innovative resources, tools and programs.

Recent Publications Include:

    Categories
    Federal Policy GHG Reduction Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

    $748 Million in Federal Grants Available for Sustainable Communities

    The Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities integrates efforts across US DOT, EPA and HUD — including the release of a Notice of Funding Availability for cities, counties, MPOs, and transportation agencies to apply for sustainable community planning grants emphasizing performance outcomes from integrated land use and transportation plans.  Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23 and applicant registration must be submitted by July 16.

    Read more and view the Federal Grant Flow Chart and Matrix at the links below:

    Policy in Motion is offering a “Sustainable Community Grant Navigation” package to assist local governments in optimizing successful grant submissions for both the five federal grant opportunities totaling $748 million, and the California Proposition 84 grant awards totaling $22 million this cycle.

    Consultancy services for the Navigation package include:

    1. overview of how federal and California policy direction ties into the scoring criteria for federal and California planning grants, and
    2. custom consultation for applicant on which grants to pursue and how to prepare grant materials through strategic planning submissions.

    For more information contact Lauren Michele at lauren.michele@policyinmotion.com.  Lauren Michele is also an editor for Fehr and Peers’ climate change blog, CoolConnections.org, and recently posted an article detailing four federal grant opportunities for sustainable communities planning.

      Categories
      GHG Reduction Local Government NewsFlash Transportation Funding

      HUD Announces $100 Million Available Under New Sustainable Regional Planning Grant Program

      HUD No. 10-133
      Andrea Mead
      (202) 708-0685
      FOR RELEASE
      Thursday
      June 24, 2010

      HUD SECRETARY DONOVAN ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION IN GRANTS AVAILABLE AS PART OF NEW SUSTAINABLE REGIONAL PLANNING GRANT PROGRAM

      Announcement comes during speech to The Atlantic’s Future of the City Forum


      WASHINGTON – During a keynote address to The Atlantic’s inaugural Future of the City Forum in Washington, D.C., U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that HUD is launching a $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, the first of its kind designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation and building a clean energy economy.

      The Regional Planning grants will be awarded competitively to multi-jurisdictional and multi-sector partnerships as well as regional consortia consisting of state and local governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), educational institutions, non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations. The funding was approved by Congress for the first time in HUD’s 2010 budget, as part of a $200 million fund for the agency’s new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. To read the full text of HUD’s funding announcement, visit HUD’s Sustainability website.

      “At HUD, and across the Administration, we believe that the “future of the city” is tied to the future of the region-the cities, suburbs and rural areas that surround them, and that America’s ability to compete and create jobs in the 21st century depends on our metro regions,” said Donovan. “That is why I am proud to say we are taking another big step forward in the Obama Administration’s efforts to encourage more sustainable development as I announce $100 million for our new Sustainable Regional Planning Grant program for regions to integrate economic development, land use, and transportation investments.”

      “The Sustainable Communities Partnership is one part of President Obama’s broader urban and metropolitan agenda, which aims to break down traditional silos and ensure that federal programs and policies across all agencies better respond to the unique needs of specific communities,” said Melody Barnes, President Obama’s Domestic Policy Adviser. “The Administration’s efforts aim to develop urban and metropolitan areas that are economically competitive, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.”

      The funding being announced today will support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of economic competitiveness and revitalization; social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; energy use and climate change; as well as public health and environmental impacts. The program places a priority on partnerships, including nontraditional partnerships including arts and culture, philanthropy, and bringing new voices to the regional planning process.

      The program will support a number of activities related to the development and implementation of integrated long-range regional plans including, but not limited to:

      • identifying affordable housing, transportation investment, water infrastructure, economic development, land use planning, environmental conservation, energy system, open space, and other infrastructure priorities for the region;
      • establishing performance goals and measures;
      • providing detailed plans, policies, and implementation strategies to be implemented by all participating jurisdictions over time to meet planning goals;
      • engaging residents and stakeholders substantively and meaningfully in the development of the shared vision and its implementation.

      The program builds on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an innovative interagency collaboration, launched by President Obama in June 2009, between the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more sustainable housing and transportation choices for families and lay the foundation for a 21st century economy. Guided by six Livability Principles, the Partnership is designed to remove the traditional silos that exist between federal departments and strategically target the agencies’ transportation, land use, environmental, housing and community development resources to provide communities the resources they need to build more livable, sustainable communities.

      Recognizing that areas are in different stages of achieving sustainability, HUD established two funding categories for the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. Category 1 Funds can be used to support the preparation of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development. Category 2 Funds can be used to support efforts to fine-tune existing regional plans so that they address the Partnership’s Livability Principles, to prepare more detailed execution plans for an adopted Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, and limited predevelopment planning activities for catalytic projects. Of the funds available, $2 million will be reserved for capacity support grants distributed separately, and not less than $25 million will be awarded to regions with populations of less than 500,000.

      Ultimately, this regional planning initiative will provide a blueprint for public and private investment decisions that will support a more sustainable future for a region. The size of grants awarded will be determined by the size of the applicants geographic area, whether a large metropolitan region or a smaller rural community. Grant applications, which will be reviewed not only by HUD, but also by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, are due August 23, 2010.

      To demonstrate HUD’s commitment to listening and learning, HUD issued an advance Notice of Funding Availability in February 2010, which was posted on the Federal Register for 21 days for public comment and feedback. Many of the comments received through that process where integrated into the final Notice.

      In addition, Secretary Donovan and HUD are committed to providing the highest level of transparency possible as the Office of Sustainable Communities works to streamline federal investments. HUD’s new sustainability website will allow tax payers to see where funds are being spent and hold federal leaders accountable, and for local partners to access valuable information and resources.

      ###

      HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

      Categories
      Federal Policy GHG Reduction Local Government Transportation Funding

      EPA to Provide $10 million for Communities to Combat Climate Change

      Release date: 06/08/2010

      Contact Information: Dave Ryan (News Media Only) Ryan.dave@epa.gov 202-564-7827 202-564-4355

      WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available up to $10 million in grants to local governments to establish and carry out initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Climate Showcase Communities program, EPA expects to award approximately 25 cooperative agreements ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, with approximately five percent of the funds ($500,000) being made available specifically for tribal governments.

      Local governments, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, and inter-tribal consortia are eligible for grants to create sustainable community actions that can be used elsewhere, generate cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions and improve the environmental, economic, public health, and social conditions in a community. A 50 percent cost share is required for recipients, with the exception of tribal governments and intertribal consortia, which are exempt from matching requirements under this grant.

      The grant program is administered by EPA’s Local Climate and Energy Program, an initiative to assist local and tribal governments to identify, implement, and track policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their operations and surrounding communities. Over the course of the grant program, EPA will offer training and technical support to grant recipients, and share lessons learned with communities across the nation. This is the second round of funding for the Climate Showcase Communities program. Last year, EPA selected 25 projects to receive $10 million in grants.

      Proposals are due by July 26, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Grants are expected to be awarded in February 2011.

      More information on the grants: http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/local/showcase