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Archived Community Growth News Articles:

EPA Brownfields Job Training Program Requesting Grant Applications 08/26/2005
EPA's Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment is now requesting applications for brownfields job training grants. Applications are due September 16, 2005. The goals of the job training program are to prepare trainees for future employment in the environmental field and facilitate cleanup of brownfield sites contaminated with hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants and petroleum. Brownfields are properties - urban, suburban, rural, waterfront, tribal, or international - that face redevelopment challenges because they contain hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment.
Original Story
A New Model of Growth for Cities in Intermountain West 08/23/2005
The economy of Rocky Mountain West is picking up momentum, driven by the migration of people and jobs to the region. "In the next 20 or 30 years, the mountain range and the Gulf Coast will be the two big growth areas" for America, says Joel Kotkin, an urban economies expert at the New America Foundation. "You'll see more growth in the second- and third-tier cities." Such growth brings with it environmental challenges such as sharing increasingly scarce water, managing sprawl and preserving the region's scenic beauty.
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Montana: Gallatin County Policy Praised as National Model for Preserving Open Space 08/23/2005
The open lands program in Montana's Gallatin County can serve as a national model of public and private cooperation in preserving open space, according to Mark Rey, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program has thus far set aside about 25,000 acres of farmland in the form of conservation easements to prevent it from being subdivided in the future. Development of private land is one of the nation's biggest challenges and one that makes other conservation problems even harder to handle, said Rey. These challenges include wildlife habitat loss, water rights disputes, water quality degradation, weeds, reduced recreational access and more difficult firefighting operations. The conservation easements in Gallatin County are the result of voter support for bonds to purchase conservation easements and assistance from the Natural Resources and Conservation Service and private groups such as the Trust for Public Land.
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Comment Period Extended for Environmental Justice Strategic Plan 08/11/2005
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing an Environmental Justice Strategic Plan to integrate its environmental justice efforts more fully into Agency programs and operations. On June 22, 2005, the Office of Environmental Justice issued a Federal Register Notice seeking public comment on the draft “Framework for Integrating Environmental Justice” and “Environmental Justice Strategic Plan Outline.” On July 28, 2005, EPA issued a Supplemental Notice in the Federal Register reopening the public comment period until August 15, 2005 to provide the public more time to comment.
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Colorado: Communities Recycle Wastewater in Effort to Stretch Resource 08/01/2005
Wastewater that's been treated, but not to drinking water standards, is being used on parks, golf courses, and sports playing fields in a dozen Colorado cities. According to Russell George, director of the state's natural resources department, with Colorado's population expected to grow from 4.5 million now to 6 million in 2030, and other states demanding more of the rivers that originate in Colorado's mountains, reuse and conservation are the only sources of "new" water for growth.
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New Assistance Offered to States in Managing Growth Issues 07/14/2005
Some former governors, along with the EPA and the National Endowment for the Arts, have joined together to create the Governors' Institute on Community Design to help states in managing growth. The Institute will be jointly administered by the Smart Growth Leadership Institute and the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. The Institute will conduct up to four workshops this year to identify strategies that spur smarter development that serves the economy, public health and the environment.
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Wyoming: Cheyenne to Receive Smart Growth Assistance 07/08/2005
Cheyenne is one of five communities selected by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to receive assistance from a team of private sector national experts in planning for future growth. Cheyenne will ask the team to analyze existing policies, codes, and administrative processes to determine if they are meeting the community's goals of protecting environmental resources, encouraging more development in existing neighborhoods, and creating new development that is walkable and provides housing choices and options. Other communities selected include McCall, Idaho, Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island, Taos, New Mexico, and College Park, Maryland.
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Indigenous Leaders Sought for Buffett Award 07/07/2005
Ecotrust is requesting nominations for the Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership. Funded by the Peter and Howard Buffett families, the award recognizes outstanding individuals in the field of conservation and community development. Individuals are eligible if they are First Nation or tribal members, over 35 years of age, and work or have worked with an indigenous organization or community within the Pacific salmon territory of North America. A $25K cash award will be presented and four honorees will receive a $2.5K cash award. Nominations are due 9/31/05.
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Montana: Powell County Receives Recognition for Being Nature Friendly 06/24/2005
The territory around Deer Lodge won recognition for its innovative wildlife overlay zone that reduces home-building impacts on elk, moose and deer. In Powell County, a grass-roots movement formed around the desire to preserve both its ranching heritage and big-game populations, according to county planner Ron Hanson. Other areas listed in Chris Duerksen's "Nature-Friendly Communities," include Fort Collins, Colorado, and Teton County, Wyoming.
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Colorado: $8.2 Million in Grants Help Open Space and Outdoor Recreation 06/17/2005
The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board has awarded $8.2 million in grants to help protect more than 7,000 acres of open space and fund outdoor recreation projects in 31 Colorado counties. GOCO began with a citizen's initiative passed in 1992. Under a constitutional formula, GOCO receives up to half of all lottery proceeds in Colorado, including proceeds from multistate games such as Powerball. They then use this money to fund various projects.
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Utah: Grant Money Available to Communities to Assess Contaminated Sites 06/15/2005
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been awarded a $200,000 EPA Petroleum Brownfields grant to identify and assess petroleum contamination at environmentally challenged sites. Utah communities now have the opportunity to access this grant money to fund environmental assessments of underutilized properties with petroleum contamination.
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City Sprawl Creates New Category of Neighborhoods 06/13/2005
Exurbia is a new term used to define neighborhoods that have developed from people moving away from densely populated areas. Homes in these types of neighborhoods are different than suburban homes in that suburban neighborhoods typically have from two to six households per acre. Suburbs are far more compact than the sprawling exurbs, which tend to begin at one home per acre, and go on up to 35 acres or more. These are the ranchettes, the mini-estates, and the horse properties. But many environmentalists, land-use planners and geographers have realized that this type of development is quickly using up land resorces. It also is having an affect on wildlife as people move further out into the country. And because of the long commutes, air pollution is on the rise in these areas.
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Montana: Social Entrepreneur Highlights Mexico's Sustainability Movement 06/07/2005
Hector Marcelli Esquivel will be speaking at the Stensrud Building in Missoula June 16 at 7:00 pm about linking fair trade producers and global consumers related to sustainable development in Mexico, and Central and South America. Marcelli created the Bioplaneta Network in the late 1990's to help rural communities compete in sustainable agricultural development and eco-tourism.
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Indigenous Leadership Awards 06/01/2005
Ecotrust requests nominations for the Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership. This award, funded by the Peter and Howard Buffett families, recognizes outstanding individuals in the field of conservation and community development within the Pacific salmon territory of North America. One $25K cash award will be presented to an individual whose activities demonstrate leadership to improve the social, economic, political, and environmental conditions in his or her homelands. Four honorees will receive a $2.5K cash award. Responses due 9/31/05.
Original Story
Rural Cooperative Development Grants Available 05/24/2005
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) has announced the availability of approximately $5.952 million in competing Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) funds. Of this amount, up to $1.488 million will be reserved for applications that focus on assistance to small, minority producers through their cooperative businesses. The maximum award per grant is $300,000, and matching funds are required (25% of total project costs). RCDG grants are used to facilitate the creation or retention of jobs in rural areas through the development of new rural cooperatives, value-added processing and other rural businesses. Application deadline is July 1, 2005.
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Colorado: Boulder Listed in Green Cities Top 10 05/17/2005
The Green Guide has put together a list of the top ten green cities that list Boulder as number two. The criteria they used included: good water and air quality, efficient use of resources, renewable energy leadership, accessible and reliable public transportation, and green building practices. In addition, they also used parks and greenbelts, access to locally-grown fresh food through farmers' markets and community supported agriculture groups, and affordability in their criteria.
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Exploring Human Health and the Built Environment 05/16/2005
The newly published issue of Environmental Health Perspectives (the Journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) focuses on how the places we live, work and play affect our health. "Substantial scientific evidence gained in the past decade has shown that various aspects of the built environment can have profound, directly measurable effects on both physical and mental health outcomes, particularly adding to the burden of illness among ethnic minority populations and low-income communities." Articles also showcase innovative city efforts that bring health considerations into urban planning (mold, air pollution, lead, diesel, etc.) All articles in the issue are available on-line.
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Colorado: Deadline Set for 2005 Phoenix Award Applications 05/13/2005
Applications for the 2005 Phoenix Awards must be received by Thursday, June 30, 2005. The awards will be given at the National Brownfields Conference in Denver, CO, November 2-4, 2005 with one winner selected from each of EPA's ten regions. Any individual, group, company, organization, government body or agency is eligible to apply for a Phoenix Award. Applications may be submitted by an individual involved in the project or by a third party.
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Tribes Receive Brownfields Funding 05/13/2005
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that $75.9 million in funding will go to communities in 44 states to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from problem properties into community assets. Among these recipients are the Keweenaw Bay Indian community in Michigan, the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona and the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota.
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Communitites in Region 8 Awarded Brownfield Grants 05/11/2005
A total of $3million in EPA Brownfields grants have been awarded by the EPA for environmental assessments, cleanups, and job training activities to eight communities in Region 8. The communities come from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. EPA's Brownfields program promotes redevelopment of abandoned and contaminated waste sites.
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National Smart Growth Award Nominees Sought 04/29/2005
EPA is now accepting applications for the 2005 fourth annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. This award recognizes communities that uses the concept of smart growth to bring about direct and indirect environmental benefits. The application is open to local or state governments and other public sector entities. Applications are due May 18, 2005 with winners being announced in November 2005.
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Montana: Farmers Cope With Tough Career Decisions 04/27/2005
Perspective: Farmers in Montana are facing difficult decisions as they try to maintain their family farms. With land prices at a premium, and family farms struggling to maintain a standard of living, pressure is building to sell. A recent study by the American Farmland Trust predicted that 11 percent of all prime ranchland in the Rocky Mountain West is threatened by conversion to residential development by 2020. Some farmers have come up with innovative ways to stay in business, while others are selling off acres at a time in order to survive and provide for eventual retirement.
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Utah: Students Winner of 2004 President's Environmental Youth Award 04/22/2005
Students at South Cache 8-9 Grade Center in Hyrum, Utah were the winners from Region 8 for the 2004 President's Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA). President Bush and Steve Johnson, EPA Acting Administrator, welcomed students from across the nation to the White House to honor their achievements in environmental protection. The students examined the impacts of urban sprawl and found ways to improve the environment for their community as well as for wildlife.
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CARE Announces Funding Availability 04/06/2005
Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) is a new EPA initiative to establish multi-media community projects to reduce exposure to toxic pollution. Proposals will be accepted from local and tribal governments, universities, and non-profit organizations. CARE will help communities create collaborative stakeholder groups to select and implement local voluntary actions. It also offers technical assistance for risk assessment, funding, and access to a wide range of voluntary programs. The closing date for applications is May 20, 2005. More information about CARE is available at:
Original Story
Colorado: Students Win National Urban Design Competition 04/05/2005
A five-student team from the University of Colorado has won $50,000 in a national urban design competition held in Salt Lake City. The competition is sponsored by the Urban Lands Institute, a nonprofit education and research institute with a mission of providing responsible leadership in the use of land to enhance the total environment. The competition is an ideas competition using a real site, and is part of the Institute’s ongoing effort to raise interest among young people in creating better communities and improving development patterns.
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Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding Available 03/31/2005
USDA announced the availability of $22.8 million to support investments in renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and rural small businesses. This program was initiated by the 2002 Farm Bill and to date has funded nearly $45 million in projects in 32 states. The $22.8 million announced today will be made available in two stages. One-half is available immediately for competitive grants. Applicants can request from $2,500 to $500,000, but requests are not to exceed 25% of the total project cost. Applications must be submitted no later than June 27, 2005. The other half of the $22.8 million will be set aside through August 31, 2005 for renewable energy and energy efficiency guaranteed loans.
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EPA to Host Webcast On Smart Growth Efforts 03/24/2005
The EPA will host a webcast titled "Working Together for a Better Quality of Life and Clean Environment - Three Approaches," on April 14, 2005 from 1-2:30 EST. The webcast will address the issue of sprawl and its impacts on quality of life.
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Utah: EPA Comments on Proposed Legacy Parkway Project 03/22/2005
The EPA released a letter commenting on a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Legacy Parkway, a 14-mile, four lane, limited access highway that would relieve traffic congestion in the Salt Lake Valley. The EPA commends the plan as an improvement over a previous Environmental Impact Study in that the new plan allows a larger mitigation preserve, restoration of additional wetlands in the preserve, and fewer impacts to the wetlands overall as a result of a reduction in the width of the rights-of-way. Utah DOT Battles Environmental Groups Over Project
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New Subdivision Plans To Use Rainwater Management System 03/18/2005
A new community development in Wilsonville, Oregon is making plans on "green" development that would include rainwater management systems, using natural ventilation and ecological roofing. The cost could be high, but residents are considering the long-term benefits. The development is using standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council at the master-plan level.
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Navajos Invest in Green Building Material Manufacture 03/14/2005
The Navajo Nation has decided to invest in manufacturing Flexcrete, a green building material, after rejecting an idea to build a freight aircraft. Flexcrete is similar to autoclave aerated concrete except it uses fly ash, a waste produced by power generating plants. They expect to recycle nearly 30,000 tons of fly ash per shift from the nearby Salt River Generating Plant. The use of Flexcrete can reduce dependence on lumber for building. It is fireproof, has energy-efficient characteristics, and is light and easy to use. The plant, located in an existing tribally-owned facility in Page Utah, will produce FlexCrete building blocks, floor and roof panels.
Original Story
Denver Hosts 10th National Brownfields Conference 03/11/2005
Denver will hosts the 10th National Brownfields Conference November 2-4 at the Colorado Convention Center. The event is sponsored by the EPA and the International City/County Managers Association. The conference will focus on nationwide Brownfields issues as well as environmental issues facing the West, including Tribal Brownfields, mining sites, watershed issues, rural community issues and sustainability.
Original Story
Colorado: Suburbs Are Becoming More Dense 02/28/2005
Denver's suburbs are beginning to look more like urban areas because of their dense growth. Denver's suburbs are now developing in a denser fashion than in such places as Boston, Atlanta and Houston. There are many reasons why Denver's suburbs are getting more dense. They include: the rising cost of land, congested freeways, a burgeoning light-rail network and a growing consumer preference for more compact housing in walkable neighborhoods. Environmentalists are encouraged because the result is that the prairies and foothills around Denver are being bulldozed at a slower pace than in years past.
Original Story
Environmental Justice Small Grants Program 02/24/2005
(EPA) The U. S. Environmental Protection agency has announced funding of the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program to provide opportunities for community-based organizations to address environmental and public health issues. Thirty awards of $25,000 will be given, three in each EPA region. Organizations receiving funding will be grassroots or neighborhood organizations located in the same area as residents affected by the problem described in the application and comprised primarily of members of the affected community. Deadline for submission of proposals is April 5, 2005
Original Story
Colorado: Funds For Uravan Natural Resource Restoration Approved 02/17/2005
Colorado's Natural Resource Trustees authorized nearly $2.1 million for three projects designed to enhance natural resources in the Uravan area in western Colorado with funds from the Uravan Superfund cleanup. The projects include: converting a ball park into a camp ground, abandoned uranium mine and adjacent stream restorations and a cooperative weed management plan.
Original Story
Native American Development Funding Announced 02/07/2005
(Health and Human Services) The Administration for Native Americans is calling for proposals for their FY 2005 "New Community-Based Projects" grants. The priority area for this funding cycle is "to promote the goal of social and economic self-sufficiency for Native Americans." Funding is available to tribes, tirbal organizations and nonprofits and applications are due by April 19, 2005.
Original Story
Great Lakes Legacy Funding Requested 02/04/2005
(U. S. EPA) President Bush is requesting $50 million in the FY 2006 Budget to implement the Great Lakes Legacy Act signed in May 2004. This will double past funding. Some of the new funding would go toward continuing remedial work and revitalization at the Black Lagoon near Trenton, Michigan. The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on earth and are valued not only for their beauty and recreational possibilities; they supply more than 30 million Americans with drinking water. The intention to collaborate with tribes in the region to restore and make the Great Lakes cleaner will support the culture and ways of native communities.
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National Tribal Conference on Environmental Managment 01/18/2005
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB) is sponsoring the 7th National Tribal Conference on Environmental Management (NTCEM) in Traverse City, Michigan June 7 - 10, 2005. The conference theme is "Sacred Ground: Sustainability for Indian Country and the Earth." The conference will be held at the tribally owned Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. The organizing committee is seeking presentation proposals (to be submitted by February 15, 2005).
Original Story
Colorado: Coal Mine to Close 01/05/2005
The Seneca coal mine in northwestern Colorado will close by the end of the year after all workable coal reserves have been depleted. The mine accounted for about 4 percent of Colorado's coal production. After the mine is closed the reclamation project will begin.
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Utah: Logging May Become Easier at Ski Resorts 01/05/2005
Ski resorts will have an easier time expanding thanks to a change in rules governing environmental and wildlife protection that will allow forest supervisors more leeway to make land-use decisions. Some critics believe that the new rules will reduce the public's role in development decisions. With the approval of the forest service, ski resorts will be able to conduct some logging in order to add ski lifts to their resorts.
Original Story
Utah: Water for Growing Communities 12/29/2004
Two water projects under consideration involve transporting water long distances to serve Wasatch Front communities and booming Washington County. One proposal involves a dam for diverted water from the Bear River piped to a new reservoir in Willard Bay and from there transported to the Wasatch Front. The other project involves building a pipeline to take water from Lake Powell to St. George. There are questions concerning the possible environmental impacts of these projects.
Original Story
Montana: More Than 10,000 Acres Protected 12/24/2004
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) announced that they successfully completed the purchase of three separate conservation easements on almost 10,400 acres of prime farm and ranchland north of Belgrade. These easements will protect critical habitat for a wide range of wildlife to include elk, deer, cougar, and trout.
Original Story
2004 U.S. Census Now Available 12/22/2004
The new 2004 U.S. Census is now available online. Utah has been listed as the 7th fastest growing state. Colorado is 14th, Montana is 19th, Wyoming 21st, South Dakota 25th and North Dakota comes in as the 48th fastest growing state. There is an excel spreadsheet which shows all the data and it can be accessed from their website.
Original Story
Green Communities Fund to Help Homes Across The Country 11/30/2004
The Green Communities Initiative offers grants to help cover the costs of planning and implementing green components of affordable housing projects. The $550 million fund will help people build more than 8,500 homes across the country. These homes will provide significant health, economic and environmental benefits to low-income families and communities.
Original Story
Colorado: New Local Resource Center Launched 11/23/2004
The EPA has announced the selection of four new Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Local Resource Centers (PEER Centers) to help local governments learn more about and adopt EMSs for their operations. One of the new centers is located at the University of Colorado. These centers provide organizations with a structured approach for assessing and reducing their environmental impacts.
Original Story
Tribe Honored for Balancing Growth, Environment, Quality of Life 11/17/2004
(EPA) The San Juan Pueblo Tribe, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, received one of five 2004 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement for a housing project exhibiting culturally appropriate, affordable design. The 40-unit, mixed income, rental housing project is part of their Master Land Use Plan that honors Native American heritage while encouraging economic growth and providing needed housing. The first of its kind for a Native American community, the plan and process by which it was developed are a valuable model for tribes and communities around the country.
Original Story
South Dakota: DENR Board Awards Additional $450,000 for Mitchell Regional Landfill 11/12/2004
The state Board of Water and Natural Resources approved an additional $450,000 low-interest loan to Mitchell to help cover increased construction costs for a regional landfill being built near the city. The landfill will provide residents and businesses located in Davison, Hanson, and Hutchinson counties an environmentally safe place to dispose of solid wastes.
Original Story
Colorado, Utah: Department of Energy Supports States in Effort to Install Solar Power Systems 11/03/2004
In an effort to tap the solar energy resources of several states including Colorado and Utah, the U.S. Department of Energy will support efforts to install a total of 1000 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) systems over the next several years. Through a five-year cooperative, cost-shared agreement proposed by the Western Governor’s Association (WGA), DOE will provide $90,000 for the first year along with expertise and technical information.
Original Story
Colorado: Development Receives National Award 10/20/2004
Denver-based Continuum Partners and the City of Lakewood have received the internationally recognized Phoenix Award for their work cleaning up and redeveloping the former Villa Italia Mall in Lakewood into a new downtown district now known as Belmar. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award at its recent Brownfields Conference in St. Louis, MO. The award was based on the successful cleanup of contamination from dry cleaning and automotive facilities.
Original Story
Montana: 7 Towns Want to Tap Aquifer Almost 4,000 Feet Below Ground 10/17/2004
Most central Montana water meets state and federal standards, but ever-tightening regulations have convinced local government officials that it's only a matter of time before it fails the tests. To combat this problem, communities in six Montana counties are working on a regional water system that they hope will provide a long-term solution. The proposed water project hangs on deep wells that will tap into water reserves flowing through the porous, 330-million-year-old limestone of the Madison Formation.
Original Story
Governors Seek to Provide New Energy Resources in Western States 09/30/2004
In order to lower the cost for consumers and export power to California, a panel of governors from Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho recommended new power plants and transmission lines to unlock energy reserves in these states. Utilities and other investors are sought to help with the costs that range from $72 million to $11 billion depending on which proposal is implemented.
Original Story
EPA Solicits Proposals for Brownfields Funding 09/16/2004
EPA is now accepting proposals for up to 200 Brownfields assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants, contingent on availability of funds in the Agency's fiscal year 2005 budget. The deadline for proposals is November 12, 2004.
Original Story

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