Posted in BROWNFIELDS, ECOLOGY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, HABITAT, LAM MAGAZINE, LAND MATTERS, POLLUTION, REGION, REGULATIONS, tagged Alpha Natural Resources, Appalachian Mountains, biodiversity, coal, Donald Trump, Hydrologic Balance, Massey Energy, mining, Mountaintop Removal, Obama, regulations, Stream Protection Rule, Streams on February 17, 2017|
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BY BRADFORD MCKEE
Image courtesy of iLoveMountains.org [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Among the very early priorities of the new Republican-controlled Congress was to give the greenest of lights to any corporation—corporations being people—that wants to blow off the top of a gorgeous Appalachian mountain for coal, throw the spoils into the nearest headwaters, ruin the stream, ruin much downstream, and destroy a spectrum of wildlife, not to mention human life, in the process.
The instrument was a joint resolution of the House and Senate that pulled back the Stream Protection Rule, a long-sought goal of the Obama administration to prevent mountaintop removal for mining, which took effect on January 19, Obama’s last day as president. Its reversal by Congress was presented to President Trump on February 6. The resolution kills the Obama rule, which (more…)
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Posted in LAM ONLINE, PEOPLE, REAL ESTATE, REGULATIONS, RESIDENTIAL, tagged Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, affordable housing, Ben Carson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Congress for New Urbanism, Demolition, deregulation, Donald Trump, Enterprise, HOPE VI, Housing Density, HUD, HUD Secretary, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Mixed-Income, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, New Urbanism, Privatization, Urban Institute on February 16, 2017|
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By Zach Mortice
The Rockwell Gardens public housing project in Chicago, demolished in 2006. Photo by Paul Goyette.
The founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) started off with a bang. The small but influential cadre of advocates for walkable and traditional-looking urbanism began meeting in 1993—the first big gathering was held at the historic Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with its “enormous entablature,” as the historian Vincent Scully noted in his opening remarks. The CNU’s beginnings dovetailed with the passage of a piece of legislation that enshrined the group’s approach to city building as federal policy: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program. After decades of crumbling, dysfunctional government-built-and-managed public housing projects, housing would instead be at least partially constructed and controlled by private developers and management companies. They would build lower-density, “mixed-income” communities of row houses and garden apartments. By the numbers, the lower density was made easier because Congress, in 1995, ended what had long been the “one-for-one” replacement rule for any public housing to be demolished. Housing vouchers, to be used to pay private landlords (who are not required to accept them), were considered sufficient for tenants not accepted into newly built units. At any rate, the policy change posed no obstacle to architects and planners.
But the 2016 election of Donald Trump was a tidal wave that washes over every corner of government—public housing design guidelines and funding policy included. HUD and the New Urbanists’ HOPE VI legacy is, pending a likely confirmation, in the hands of Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential primary candidate, who is neither an expert nor even a novice (more…)
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