Lost amidst the excitement over the federal transportation bill agreement, late last month the House Appropriations Committee approved the funding bill for the 2013 fiscal year, which covers funding for the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. Ben Adler exposes the bill's attacks on funding for the EPA, which would see its overall budget cut by 17%. More importantly, the EPA's Office of Smart Growth, is at risk of being completely defunded. This program works with economically vulnerable communities to generate and sustain "economic growth and efficiency - in theory, something Republicans should be amenable to supporting," writes Adler.
"The grants enable communities to initiate projects that wind up saving taxpayer money and preserving natural resources/the environment, and have been shown to play a role in developing the kind of great smart growth neighborhoods that a boon to local economies and health," states Tom Madrecki of Smart Growth America.
Adler describes this major blow as part of a larger attack on President Obama's Partnership for Sustainable Communities, of which the EPA is a partner. With smart growth funding on the chopping block, America's cities may lose a major tool for helping to improve their economic and physical well-being.