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Statement Issued on Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act

ASLA issued the following statement last week in support of infrastructure legislation:

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) commends Senator Tom Udall (NM) and Representative Donna Edwards (MD) for introducing today the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act. The intent of the legislation is to provide critical support to advanced stormwater strategies that improve our nation’s ability to effectively manage polluted runoff and sewage overflows while relieving pressure on aging infrastructure.

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The legislation would establish up to five regional centers of excellence that would conduct research, develop recommendations, and provide training and technical assistance for implementing practices for stormwater control and management. It would also promote the use of innovative stormwater solutions within the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water and related programs and provide technical assistance to states, local governments, and the private sector.

This bill remains one of ASLA’s top legislative priorities. A host of allied organizations have joined ASLA in providing advice and technical assistance to the bills’ sponsors, including American Rivers, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Other organizations supporting this bill include the American Planning Association and the National Parks and Recreation Association.

Please visit www.asla.org/stormwater for more information about this bill and ASLA’s stormwater management resources, including more than 475 green infrastructure case studies and a report on the economic benefits of green infrastructure.

“ASLA applauds Senator Udall and Representative Edwards for introducing the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act, which will help provide research and support to communities across the country in managing polluted stormwater runoff,” said Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “The regional centers of excellence in this bill will provide designers with the information they need to continue to push the envelope. Landscape architects are on the front lines designing advanced stormwater management controls that reduce polluted stormwater runoff and reduces costs for cities and municipalities while adding tremendous value to communities.”

“Stormwater runoff is a leading cause of water pollution across the country, contributing to beach closings, increased health risks, and harm to local economies. More and more, communities are taking action by using green infrastructure techniques—like green roofs, rain gardens, and permeable pavement—to mimic nature and stop runoff at the source,” said Scott Slesinger, legislative director of the NRDC. “Not only do these innovative approaches prevent pollution and recharge drinking water supplies, they have the added benefits of beautifying neighborhoods, cooling and cleansing the air, reducing asthma and heat-related illnesses, lowering energy costs, boosting economies, and supporting American jobs. NRDC supports the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act, which will provide much-needed resources for green infrastructure research and implementation nationwide.”

“This bill will help communities manage polluted runoff using innovative techniques that protect clean water, save money, decrease flooding, and increase green space,” said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers. “It will increase research and investment in innovative stormwater practices that work with the natural landscape to capture and infiltrate rainwater where it falls to protect our clean water supplies. We applaud Senator Tom Udall and Representative Edwards for their leadership in introducing this legislation.”

“As more cities and towns across the country pursue creative solutions to manage stormwater and combined sewer overflows, there is a growing recognition that innovative stormwater management techniques can meet these needs in a more cost-effective and environmentally effective way,” said Ken Kirk, the executive director of NACWA. “NACWA commends Senator Tom Udall and Representative Donna Edwards for introducing the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act, a bill to help municipalities nationwide advance innovative stormwater practices and develop regional centers of excellence to provide critical research and information coordination services. I urge all members of Congress to swiftly enact this legislation.”

“The Water Environment Federation strongly supports the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act,” said Eileen O'Neill, the executive director of the WEF. “The impacts of stormwater runoff continue to increase as we develop the landscape, and it is becoming apparent that the use of natural systems, such as green infrastructure, can be an effective and cost-efficient approach to address these impacts. This legislation, which seeks to establish technical stormwater centers of excellence as well as seek innovative financing solutions to stormwater infrastructure needs, is closely aligned with the WEF's goal of driving innovation in the water sector.”

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