Last week, the new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt attacked his own agency in an address to the Conservative Political Action summit. The attack on environmental regulation by the head of EPA is a remarkable nightmare. Fortunately, in our federal system, state and local officials will be able to fill in if the federal government refuses to act.
The biggest barrier to installation or permeable pavement is funding. But the positive outcomes include reduced flooding, less stormwater runoff, and recharging of aquifers.
In an effort to curb sewage overflows, New York City has turned to green infrastructure: right-of-way bioswales, green roofs and rain gardens, among other practices. These measures help decrease stormwater runoff by increasing pervious areas and introducing water-loving plants that can absorb some of the water and encourage evaporation.
Once infrastructure decisions are made, they are locked in place, often for decades, sometimes for centuries. Recognizing this fact, there is an urgency to think in new ways, rather than simply stick with established practices and systems.
Buildings account for almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and the U.N. Environment Programme projects that if we continue with business as usual in the building sector, these emissions will double by 2030. Fortunately, green building is on the rise around the world.
With support from the Earth Institute, writers Caswell Holloway, Carter Strickland, Michael Gerrard, and Daniel Firger recently published “Solving the CSO Conundrum: Green Infrastructure and the Unfulfilled Promise of Federal-Municipal Cooperation” in Harvard Environmental Law Review. The authors propose regulatory and policy reform to develop comprehensive, locally led infrastructure and sustainability initiatives that improve public health and the environment. They look specifically at the case of water management as an opportunity for federal and local governments to work cooperatively, specifically through the implementation of green infrastructure systems.
Over the next 18 years, New York City’s 2010 Green Infrastructure Plan will spend $2.4 billion on green infrastructure— green roofs, tree plantings, and increased vegetation— to combat coastal pollution. But how does green infrastructure work and how effective is it really?
Climate change will impact New York City through more frequent heavy precipitation, sea level rise and rising temperatures. To strengthen its resilience, the city is planting trees and mini-parks, restoring wetlands and installing more permeable surfaces.