Greenhouse Gas & Air Quality

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ISSUE

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) supports the commitment of federal funding and strong policies at all levels of government, incorporating and encouraging the work of multi-jurisdictional regional planning organizations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality for communities and regions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

  • Balance a commitment to conserving energy, protecting the environment, developing new technologies and strengthening the economy when addressing environmental concerns.
  • Ensure federal environmental decisions are based on well-founded, peer-reviewed scientific evidence.
  • Recognize and include local governments and multi-jurisdictional regional planning organizations as partners in national efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GhGs) and improve air quality.
  • Encourage regional approaches to resolve environmental issues that cross-jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Adopt flexible policies to aid in the reduction of GhGs and air quality issues.
  • Encourage predictable market solutions to reducing carbon emissions.
  • Provide states, local governments and regional planning organizations the incentives and resources to support cost effective planning and management programs to meet federal goals in GhG reduction and air quality.
  • Allow states, local governments and regions the authority to set reasonable standards and establish flexible mechanisms to achieve standards.
  • Provide for GhG reduction and related activities through federal legislation, not regulation.
  • Recognize there is no “one-size-fi ts-all” solution for GhG reduction or air quality improvement, and allow flexibility for local government implementation.
  • Encourage the integration of environmental strategies into plans that build livable/sustainable communities.
  • Oppose mandates on local governments and/or regional planning organizations without full federal funding.

FUNDING & PROGRAM

  • Coordinate policies and programs of federal agencies regulating air quality and/or GhG reduction to avoid conflicting regulations and/or actions.
  • Direct a portion of proceeds from any market-based program to units of local government and multi-jurisdictional regional organizations to support emissions reduction efforts.
  • Provide urban, suburban and rural regional planning organizations resources and tools to integrate GhG reduction and air quality improvement into planning objectives.
  • Direct funding to regional planning organizations to evaluate, plan and prepare for the environmental impacts.
  • Allocate funding for both adaptation and mitigation initiatives on the local and regional levels.
  • Support the inclusion of and necessary funding to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Councils of Governments (COGs) that incorporate sustainability practices (e.g. linking transportation and land use planning) to reduce GhGs.
  • Encourage and give credit for voluntary reductions in air pollution.
  • Support the development and application of technologies that will reduce, capture and/or store GhGs and other air pollutants.
  • Employ strategies to buffer the effect of GhG reduction (e.g. energy cost increases) on lower-income populations.
  • Evaluate regularly the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to ensure they are necessary and attainable.
  • Ensure NAAQS standards are accompanied by proven technologies and suffi cient time to assist in implementation.
  • Allow GhG reduction or air quality standards to be fl exible enough to consider regional conditions and unique situations.

RESEARCH & EDUCATION

  • Increase research on the effects of GhGs and air quality issues on U.S. regions.
  • Fund local governments and regions to educate residents, stakeholders and communities about environmental challenges.

BACKGROUND

The U.S. is facing myriad environmental challenges and opportunities that necessitate our localities work collaboratively on a regional level. Many environmental issues are being addressed by local governments and regional planning organizations nationwide through a variety of strategies and implementation activities. Since the passage of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C.), regional planning organizations have played a critical role in the nation’s efforts to ensure clean air through short and long-term planning and implementation. NARC is committed to ensuring regional planning organizations have the tools and resources they need to address these concerns.

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Copyright © 2013 National Association of Regional Councils