Green Communities Act

Washington, DC (May 20, 2009)- Cities across the United States are looking for new effective, low cost strategies that will grow their economies. The implementation of green infrastructure is one of the most effective ways to improve quality of life, attract new business, and improve the general environment. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz has introduced the Green Communities Act, H.R. 2222, to do just that. The bill authorizes $120 million in funding for community-based greening in cities. ACT member organization Pennsylvania Horticulture Society hosted a field hearing on the legislation and is a leading advocate for the program, which would be authorized by the Secretary of Commerce and delivered through the Economic Development Administration. Urban forestry and volunteer-based action are prominently featured in the legislation.

Bill Status
April 30, 2009- Introduced to House
April 30, 2009- Referred to the following committees: House Financial Services and House Transportation and Infrastructure (Subcommittees on: Water Resources and Environment and Subcommittees on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management)
Current Actions:

  • HOUSE- Ask your Representative to to co-sponsor H.R. 2222.
  • SENATE- Ask your Senator to co-sponsor S. 3055.
  • Property values increase when cities implement green infrastructure solutions. In fact, a University of Pennsylvania study verified this and found that the price of a new home in Philadelphia increased 9 percent if it was located near a new tree planting, 28 percent if it was located near new streetscape improvements, and 30 if it was located next to a cleared and greened lot. This type of investment can generate new economic activity and increase revenues for cities that are hurting from high unemployed and decreasing real estate assessments.
    While many cities might be interested in turning to green infrastructure strategies, they lack access to the concepts and techniques used to effectively plan and implement these solutions. This is especially true for older cities both large and small that are looking to reinvent themselves and revitalize their commercial, industrial and residential areas. The Green Communities Act enables cities to get technical advice from national experts on how to best plan, design, and implement a green infrastructure strategy for addressing their economic development needs.
    The Green Communities Act represents the type of public-private partnership that we need right now to get the economy moving and plan for essential infrastructure that improves quality and value of aging urban communities across the country.
    Next Steps:
    We’re looking for co-sponsors. If this legislation would benefit your locally, please consider taking these actions now:
    * Sign-on to the ACT’s Endorsement Letter. Email Jared Liu to acknowledge your support.
    * Write to your U.S. Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2222. See the sample letter of support.
    * Take your Representative on a tour of the neighborhoods that could benefit from more green infrastructure. Make sure to reinforce how trees are an effective, low cost strategies that will grow the local economy. Your Member of Congress will be home the following dates: May 25-29, June 14, June 29- July 4, and August 3- September 7.
    * Assemble a coalition of local stakeholders and set a timeline for a collaborative dialogue and design process that includes public comments. The implementation of green infrastructure is one of the most effective ways to improve quality of life, attract new business, and improve the general environment. That’s a pretty broad coalition of political leaders, business owners, local organizers, and residents!
    Related Resources:
    H.R. 2222
    ACT Sign-On Letter
    Draft Letter of Support to Congress
    Neighborhood Stabilization and Revitalization
    Growing Healthier Greener Business Districts
    U.S. Conference of Mayors Supporting Resolution
    May 18, 2009 Philadelphia Field Hearing
    Revitalizing Older Cities Field Hearing Notes
    ANLA Endorsement Letter