News for July, 2010
Friday, July 30th, 2010
Our Lady Gate of Heaven Church in Calumet. Photo taken after a storm in the summer 2008. Before the bioswale was installed, the parking would be flooded for days after a big rain. The bioswale soaked up this rain after one day.
As Chicago-area residents continue to clean up from last weekend’s storms that dumped more than eight inches of rain in less than 48 hours, it is important to consider why such storms seem to be occurring more often and what we can do to lessen the damage as they happen in the future.
The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human-induced climate change is already altering our planet. The effects of climate change will affect all parts of the planet, including the Midwest, where we can expect more extreme summer heat days, threats to agriculture, and more intense and frequent storms. Read more »
Monday, July 26th, 2010
Late last week Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index Act, which will give state agencies the complete information they need to make wise investment decisions in housing.
The theory behind the bill is simple: Housing costs do not end when we sign our rent or mortgage checks. Where we live has other costs associated with getting around: to work, to school, to the grocery store. How much that costs depends on where we live and what options are available to move us from point A to point B. Read more »
Sunday, July 25th, 2010
Next year, I-GO Car Sharing will add to its fleet 30 electric vehicles that run entirely on renewable energy. For the past two weeks, I-GO has been one of the few groups in North America to test drive the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, a zero-emissions electric vehicle (EV) currently sold only in Japan.
While I-GO had the keys to the i-MiEV, we invited political leaders, funders and journalists out to preview the car and take it for a spin. Check out who took it for a spin here. Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune transportation reporters Mary Wisniewski and Jon Hilkevitch recently wrote about I-GO and their impressions of the i-MiEV here and here. Read more »
Friday, July 23rd, 2010
News that the Senate leadership in Congress has decided to indefinitely postpone passing comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year is tremendously disappointing. Though climate change regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, states and regions are still moving forward, many viewed this summer as the best opportunity for Congress to pass legislation that would create a national framework to transform our energy system and cut global warming emissions.
Today’s news from Capitol Hill underscores why CNT’s work is more important than ever. Since the day CNT opened its doors more than 30 years ago, our philosophy is that change comes at the neighborhood level. And although it is crucial for the United States to implement a federal-level strategy to improve our energy system and reduce our global warming pollution, many of the actions required to meet any national climate goal will occur at the local level. That means every community can and should continue to move forward and do its part. Read more »
Friday, July 16th, 2010
As more companies like GE and Siemens delve deeply into the technological opportunities to be gained from a smart grid, CNT and other advocates stress that a smart grid will not be economically viable unless customer benefits are included as fundamental components.
As it stands, most discussions of infrastructure investment do not include customer benefits anywhere near the beginning of the discussion. Because many smart grid investments need to rely on consumer benefits as well as system benefits for a strong business case, lack of a robust consumer-oriented strategy weakens the argument for smart grid investments. Read more »
Thursday, July 15th, 2010
CNT has developed a new tool for individuals to find what a typical household spends on transportation in their neighborhood. “Abogo” is a more consumer-oriented extension of the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which offers the true cost of housing based on its location, by measuring the transportation costs associated with place.
Abogo measures the money a typical household, living in a given neighborhood, would spend getting around– including car ownership, car use, and transit use. It also provides the carbon emissions associated with using a car. CNT developed Abogo so that individuals can now measure the true cost and impact of where they live in 337 metropolitan areas in the U.S., in the same way that planners and municipalities have been using the H + T Index to better understand the combined costs of housing and transportation at the regional level, for example. Read more »
Monday, July 12th, 2010
The White House Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force is holding a series of meetings to “hear local and regional ideas, questions and concerns about climate change impacts and to describe Federal planning efforts already underway.” Three (in Florida, Oregon and Hawaii) have occurred. On Thursday July 15, 2010, the Chicago meeting will be held at the Metcalfe Federal Building from 1-5 PM. CNT President Scott Bernstein will participate in the “Great Lakes Urban Infrastructure Panel” at 3:30 PM.
This session, organized and co-hosted by the EPA and HUD, will focus on local and regional ideas and concerns about climate change impacts in the Great Lakes region, including impacts to urban infrastructure and the Great Lakes ecosystem. Read more »
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8th, 2010
Contacts: Steve Wise, CNT, 773-269-4042
Nicole Gotthelf, CNT, 773-269-4029
Katherine Baer, American Rivers, 202-347-7550
CNT Applauds Senators Udall and Whitehouse for Their Leadership on Clean Water Issues
[Chicago, IL] — The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) is pleased to announce that Senator Udall (D. NM) and Senator Whitehouse (D. RI) have introduced the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2010 (S. 3561) to the Senate.
Green infrastructure offers a 21st century approach to managing our nation’s stormwater. By replicating, restoring, and protecting the natural hydrology of the landscape, water is infiltrated where it falls, filtering out contaminants and reducing the volume of stormwater that overwhelms our water infrastructure systems. From the neighborhood scale rain barrel to a watershed scale system of green roofs, permeable pavements, and wetland restoration, green infrastructure has the flexibility and economic viability to protect and restore clean water supplies for communities.
“It’s time for Congress to move green infrastructure to center stage in our national water strategy,” said Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President for Policy at the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago. “Green infrastructure creates healthier, more vital communities, protects clean water, saves energy, and helps to build green jobs. The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act will extend EPA’s partnership toward sustainable communities by expanding cost- and ecologically effective green infrastructure.”
“This legislation emphasizes the importance of green infrastructure as a cost-effective alternative to traditional hard infrastructure fixes. By establishing a precedent of green infrastructure solutions, this approach can become a new norm rather than just a demonstration,”said Katherine Baer, Senior Director, Clean Water Program at American Rivers.
This bill will increase research and development of innovative green infrastructure techniques, promote the use of green infrastructure in permitting and regulations within EPA, and provide incentive funding to communities to plan, develop, and install green infrastructure technologies.
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Recent actions by both Congress and the State of Illinois are bringing Green Infrastructure (GI) closer to becoming the preferred stormwater strategy to control runoff by sustainable, cost- and ecologically effective methods.
The U.S. Senate now is considering national Green Infrastructure policy, with introduction of the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act. CNT and a broad national coalition worked vigorously for development of the “GI for Clean Water Act”, which is now introduced in both chambers.
The Act would fund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finance federal cost-share grants for planning and implementation of community Green Infrastructure, and would establish “centers of excellence” for GI training and research. The Act would also financially support states that develop Green Infrastructure Portfolio Standards—incremental targets for stormwater management that would increase the use of green infrastructure over time, similar to renewable energy portfolio standards that most states have adopted to reach renewable energy targets. Read more »