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ASLA Leaders Talk Climate Change and Resilience on Capitol Hill

Last week, nearly 200 ASLA leaders and students from chapters around the country flocked to Washington, D.C., for ASLA Advocacy Day 2018.

Roxanne Blackwell

2018-05-01
Last week, nearly 200 ASLA leaders and students from chapters around the country flocked to Washington, D.C., for ASLA Advocacy Day 2018. Advocates met with their legislators on Capitol Hill to talk about how landscape architecture can help address climate change and resilience. Communities across the nation are experiencing the devastating impacts of global climate change, including more frequent and severe weather events and other natural disasters. Coastal communities and underserved communities continue to be the most vulnerable to the destructive impacts of these events. Advocates educated their policy makers on how landscape architects have the education, training, skills, and experience to assist all communities in recovery efforts following disasters, and to help make them more resilient to future events.

ASLA advocates urged their U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives to support legislation to create more living shorelines in coastal communities, to call for more green infrastructure projects to address stormwater management, and to promote community engagement in underserved communities. Specifically, advocates urged co-sponsorship of H.R. 4525, the Living Shorelines Act, which would promote the use of natural infrastructure to help restore and protect coastal shorelines from erosion, increased flooding, and sea-level rise.

ASLA advocates also urged support for the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act, a bill that promotes the use of green infrastructure projects under the integrated municipal stormwater and wastewater planning framework. It also creates an Office of the Municipal Ombudsman within the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Administrator, which would help provide technical assistance to municipalities to comply with federal water pollution and safe drinking water laws. In October 2017, this bill passed the full U.S. Senate by unanimous consent. However, the House version of the bill has not had any movement, and ASLA is working to move the bill through the legislative process.

New to ASLA’s federal legislative agenda is environmental justice legislation. ASLA has endorsed the Environmental Justice Act of 2017 (H.R. 4114, S. 1996), which would require federal agencies to address environmental justice and require the consideration of the impacts of projects on underserved communities during the permitting process. During their congressional meetings, landscape architects highlighted their environmental justice work in communities across the country and urged legislators to cosponsor the legislation.

After a full day of legislative meetings on Capitol Hill, ASLA advocates felt confident that their legislators understood the role of landscape architects in designing and planning critical infrastructure projects that will help make all communities healthy and resilient, and that ASLA’s legislative agenda will assist them in continuing this important work.

Contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

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