WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that 22 communities will receive technical assistance to pursue development strategies that support smart growth and sustainability goals and encourage local economic development.

EPA selected this year’s recipients from among 121 applicants to the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

Many communities are seeking EPA’s assistance to think through how and where they will grow – while protecting the environment and helping members of the community most in need,” said Joel Beauvais, associate administrator for EPA’s Office of Policy. ”Our Building Blocks program brings the technical know-how to help communities overcome the barriers to sustainable growth so they can plan for a healthier, more vibrant future.”

EPA selected the following communities, located in 18 states: Asheville, N.C.; Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.;Canton, Miss.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Damariscotta, Maine; Danville, Ill.; Fresno, Calif.; Marysville, Wash.; Mobile, Ala.; Nederland, Colo.; New Paltz, N.Y.; Newburyport, Mass; Passaic County, N.J.; Polk County, Iowa; Prichard, Ala.; Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Wis.; Santa Ynez Band of Chamash Indians, Calif; Scituate, Mass; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and Terre Haute, Ind.

The agency is offering five tools this year: Bikeshare Planning, Equitable Development, Infill Development for Distressed Cities, Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Areas, and Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities. Using the flood resilience tool, for example, EPA will help Newburyport, Mass. explore green infrastructure solutions to coastal erosion and river flooding to protect the town’s vibrant riverfront economy. EPA will also help New Paltz, New York amend its village code to make the historic downtown more resilient to flooding, which disproportionately affects minority and low-income residents.

Since 2011, the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program has provided assistance to 130 communities in 41 states. As a result of this assistance, community groups, local governments, and tribal governments across the nation have increased their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity, prepare for the effects of climate change, and improve overall quality of life.

EPA will conduct these workshops in coordination 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.Through the Partnership, EPA, HUD, and DOT work together to coordinate investments in housing, transportation, and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.

More information on the Building Blocks program:http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities:http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html

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