The following updates come courtesy of ASLA National.
Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) partners ASLA, the Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the U.S. Botanic Garden met with chief executives and senior staff of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) on June 31, 2012. USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi, Hon. ASLA, reconfirmed his and USGBC’s commitment to collaborate with SITES™and to provide project certification and professional credentialing for SITES through GBCI.
ASLA joined in signing a letter to the House Agriculture Committee advocating for key conservation and urban forestry provisions in the 2012 Farm Bill. The Sustainable Urban Forestry Coalition (SUFC) letter asked for maintaining funding for the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, reauthorization of the Watershed Forestry Assistance Program, and continuing the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program. ASLA is an active member of the SUFC and will continue to monitor the Farm Bill as resources allow.
ASLA helped distribute a Dear Colleague letter to key lawmakers in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provision that was included in the Senate-passed surface transportation reauthorization bill (MAP-21). As of press time, over 130 members of Congress have signed the letter.
As part of continued advocacy efforts to protect TE, SRTS, and other priority active transportation programs, ASLA joined the American Heart Association, National Recreation and Parks Association, Sierra Club, and other members of the Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK) in a letter urging congressional leaders to maintain adequate funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs. In addition, California ASLA members were asked to make phone calls to Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), the co-chair of the Conference Committee, urging her to stand tall against House Republican efforts to weaken or eliminate TE, SRTS, and Recreational Trails.
The House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee passed a fiscal year 2013 bill that includes $28 billion for the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forest Service and related agencies. The total is $1.2 billion lower than the fiscal 2012 level and falls $1.7 billion short of President Obama’s request. Within the overall amount, the bill would appropriate $7 billion for the EPA, which represents a 17 percent reduction from last year’s budget.
House appropriators targeted the Clean Water Revolving Fund for cuts, allocating $689 million for 2013, nearly $780 million less than enacted levels. Similarly, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund would receive $829 million, an $89 million cut from current levels. House Republicans also attached a “policy rider” barring EPA from implementing long-delayed “post-construction” stormwater rules, which would require new developments to manage their own rainfall runoff after construction.
Interior Department cuts would fall heaviest to programs centered on environmental protection, conservation and land acquisition, climate change, and fish and wildlife protection. The Land and Water Conservation Fund would be slashed 80 percent to $66 million―the lowest level, since the program was established in 1965.
The Outdoor Industry Association recently released a report entitled, “The Outdoor Recreation Economy” showing that recreation generates $646 billion in direct spending on gear and trips, which supports 6.1 million jobs―more than the oil and gas industry’s 2.1 million jobs, education’s 3.5 million or construction’s 5.5 million. To ensure continued growth in outdoor recreation, leaders say it needs federal support―the development of a clean and accessible system of public lands, wild and scenic waterways, hiking trails and bike paths, all of which receive federal support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Recreational Trails, TE, and other ASLA priority programs.
The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) has approved 109 sessions from the annual meeting continuing education program towards the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED credential maintenance. The New York State licensing board has approved 103 sessions for PDH for New York licensees. The American Planning Association has approved 76 sessions toward AICP maintenance, and 60 sessions have been approved through AIA CES. Determinations from Florida are in process.
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