Trump Administration Silences the EPA

Apparently, the Trump administration has barred staff at the Environmental Protection Agency from awarding any new contracts or grants, or from issuing any press releases, blog updates, or posts to the EPA’s social media accounts.

According to the Associated Press, “the Trump administration has also ordered a “temporary suspension” of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.”

Copies of the emails ordering the EPA freeze were leaked to the media yesterday.

In related news, the Associated Press has reported these further assaults on our environment by the Trump administration in the 4 short days he has been in office:

President Donald Trump has signed executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

Trump tells reporters in the Oval Office that the moves on the pipelines will be subject to the terms and conditions being renegotiated by the U.S.

 

President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, saying it would hurt American efforts to reach a global climate change deal.

 

The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needs to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.The Army decided last year to explore alternate routes for the Dakota pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters said the pipeline threatened drinking water and Native American cultural sites.

and

The Trump administration is moving to delay implementation of at least 30 environmental rules finalized in the closing months of President Barack Obama’s term. That could be a potential first step in seeking to kill the regulations.

 

A summary of actions published Tuesday in the Federal Register includes rulings that updated air pollution standards for several states, renewable fuel standards and limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can leach from wood products.

 

President Donald Trump signed a directive shortly after his inauguration Friday ordering a “regulatory freeze pending review” for all federal agency rules that had been finalized but have not yet taken effect.

 

The action sets the new effective date for all 30 regulations as March 21.

and

Three climate-related tweets sent out by Badlands National Park have been deleted after they went viral on Twitter, sparking debate over whether the park was defying the Trump administration.

 

The South Dakota park posted tweets Tuesday that accurately quoted climate science data, including the current record-setting high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. President Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax.

 

The tweets were shared thousands of times, and the Democratic National Committee circulated the message by email with the subject line “Resist.”

 

The tweets came just three days after the Interior Department briefly suspended its Twitter accounts after the park service retweeted photos about turnout at Trump’s inauguration. The accounts were reactivated the next day.

Green Building 101: Debunking Myths of Green Building and Remodeling

Green Building 101: Debunking Myths of Green Building and Remodeling (via Green Building Elements)

  As Green Building Elements take on the project of green building from the ground up, we focused on consideration of space in week 1 and the use of Bioclimatic design on week two. This week, let’s take a closer look at some of the myths behind green building and renovation. We debunk false…

EPA: Multi-Family Housing Near Public Transit is Greener. Melanie Dawn: And in Miami, it’s Beautiful, too!

The EPA has just released a white paperconfirming what most of us know intuitively: multi-family housing located near public transportation is generally “greener” than any other type of housing.  Their graph tells the story very well:

It illustrates the two key points in the study about the relationship between housing style/location and energy consumption:

• “Choosing to live in an area with transportation options not only reduces energy consumption, it also can result in significant savings on home energy and transportation costs.”


• “Fairly substantial differences are seen in detached versus attached homes, but the most striking difference is the variation in energy use between single-family detached homes and multifamily homes, due to the inherent efficiencies from more compact size and shared walls among units.”

The EPA study also included a surprising correlation between proximity to public transportation and foreclosure rates:

“Location efficiency can contribute to or undermine a home’s affordability, and these impacts can also extend to a household’s financial stability. One analysis of some of the causes behind the U.S. financial crisis suggests that vehicle ownership and a lack of access to public transportation may be just as predictive of mortgage foreclosure rates as low credit scores and high debt-to-income ratios.”

In his 2010 book, “Foreclosing the Dream: How America’s Housing Crisis is Changing Our Cities and Suburbs,” Dr. William Lucy, professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, said much the same thing:

““Location is more important than ever, and how location is interpreted has changed,” Lucy said.


With foreclosures and repossessions contributing to housing surplus predominantly in the outer suburbs and suburbs, these locations are not considered as being safe investments or as having good resale potential for 30- to 45-year-olds, who later need to sell for career advancement.”

Dr. Lucy and the EPA white paper also seem to be in agreement with other market studies that discuss the increasing demand for urban multi-family housing close to public transportation. The EPA study references a 2010 analysis completed by RCLCO and wrote, “that demographic changes are underway which are leading to rapid growth in the number of households without children. These households demonstrate a preference for more walkable, vibrant “urban” places with good transit access…”

In Miami we have been reading about this shift for several years now. In an October 2006 Miami Herald article by Elaine Walker, she talks to Allen and Stella Donelan about why they are moving to Downtown Dadeland:

“He also hates the hour-long commute to his U.S. Post Office job — he will cut that by two-thirds. With the Metrorail virtually next door, the Donelans plan to get rid of their second car.”

Multi-family housing located in “walkable” neighborhoods near public transportation and other amenities allows residents to save on transportation and other energy costs while living green.

And in Miami this means living on some of the most beautiful real estate anywhere in the country. The corridor from the northern edge of Downtown Miami, through Brickell, Coconut Grove, South Miami and Downtown Kendall/Dadeland boasts mid- and high-rise condominiums with Biscayne Bay views as well as attached and detached homes in tropical garden settings.

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