Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • State and Local Officials Speak Out on President’s Commitment to Clean Air and a Strong Economy

    Over the last two and half years the Obama Administration, under the leadership of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, has taken some of the strongest actions since the enactment of the Clean Air Act four decades ago to protect our environment and the health of our families from air pollution.

    On Friday, President Obama asked Administrator Jackson to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time, as work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013.

    Several state and local officials spoke out about the President’s announcement and commitment to working with state and local governments.

    Michigan Governor Rick Snyder:

    “The President made the right decision to stop this move by the EPA.  The present ozone standard was last reviewed a mere three years ago.  Michigan companies have worked hard to meet the standard, because we all support a healthy environment. It is important to balance environmental goals with the need for economic development, particularly as Michigan and the rest of the nation work to recover from the recession”

    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

    “In our current economic climate, we must do everything we can to stimulate the economy short of taking a step back in the unprecedented environmental gains this administration has already made. This is the sort of balanced approach we need to create jobs and also improve the quality of air, health and life for countless Americans.”

    East Moline, Illinois Mayor John Thodos:

    “We in the Quad Cities are very happy with the President’s announcement.  We take clean air very seriously, but it’s difficult enough to create jobs without these new standards.  I fully support the President’s decision.”

    Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman:

    “I want to thank President Obama and his administration for listening and working with state and local governments. Withdrawing the new standard allows an update of the science and the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013 while granting our state and local governments and businesses more regulatory certainty and flexibility. President Obama and his administration are strong partners with those of us on the state and local level of government in the fight for clean air and public health.” 

    Bettendorf, Iowa Mayor Mike Freemire:

    “The standards are quite rigorous as they are, and the threat of new standards from a manufacturing standpoint aren’t helpful for the economy or growing jobs.  It’s a prudent move.  Everything is a balancing act.  I applaud the President for his decision.”

    Scott County, Iowa Board of Supervisors Chair Tom Sunderbruch:

    “I certainly support the President's move to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time…I think delaying the standard change is the right thing to do.  I also believe making sure you have the right science to know what to do next is important.  I believe those responsible for setting the regulations should continue to research the issue.”

    Cecilia Muñoz is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • State and Local Leaders Call for Transportation Reauthorization

    On Wednesday, President Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined business and labor leaders to call on Congress to pass a clean extension of key transportation programs to protect critical jobs and bolster our roads, bridges, runways and railways.

    State and local leaders around the country are echoing the President’s call and urging Congress to quickly pass a surface transportation bill to make sure our nation continues to invest in infrastructure and keep nearly a million construction and other workers on the job.

    128 bi-partisan mayors from 36 states signed a letter to Congressional leaders asking for a timely extension of the nation’s transportation laws:

    For generations both parties have recognized the need to construct and improve a national transportation network, and we built a world-class system that has moved goods and people efficiently for decades. Today, there is growing anxiety that for the first time in decades Congress could fail to continue to fund our national transportation system…We cannot afford to undermine our competitiveness over the long-term, while immediately eliminating hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs during this challenging economic time…We strongly urge Congress to send a clean extension of our nation’s surface transportation program to the President for his immediate signature.

    In addition, many other state and local leaders spoke out about the urgency of transportation reauthorization.

    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick:

    Under our Administration, we have made historic investments in our public infrastructure to create jobs and leave this Commonwealth better for the next generation. I join the President in calling upon Congress to move forward with this reauthorization so that we can keep Massachusetts workers on the job, and continue to support our infrastructure needs.

     Los Angeles, California Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

    It’s time for Congress to move with purpose on the one issue most Americans will be pondering this Labor Day:  how to keep or find a good job.The very first step Congress must take when it reconvenes this Tuesday is to pass the Surface Transportation Bill. With nearly 2 million jobs on the line, and an historic unemployment across the country, there is no more important issue facing Congress. This is job one...American workers are concerned with a paycheck, not partisanship. Congress must put politics aside and the people first. Let's get the job done and keep these nearly 2 million Americans on the job.

  • Growing Green - A Capital Idea

    Main Street Redesign_Little Rock

    A redesign option for Main Street in Little Rock that incorporates rain gardens and improved crosswalks. (Courtesy the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) August 29, 2011. (by Environmental Protection Agency)

    Over the last year, federal, state and city workers in Little Rock, Arkansas, have been working with residents and businesses to develop design ideas that turn vacant lots into pocket parks, line streets with mini gardens, and expand an existing trolley line. Along with making the city a healthier place to live and work by cutting back pollution and capturing stormwater, these green changes also bring the potential to attract new businesses and new jobs to the area, all while facilitating new and better housing and transportation choices for families.

    Little Rock looks forward to the day when a bustling Main Street will connect to the newly-revitalized River Market District – which after years of decay now boasts new parks, businesses, homes and museums, thanks to public and private investments and smart design concepts now being replicated throughout the city.

    EPA has been part of Little Rock’s progress through our Greening America’s Capitals program, an effort to help America's capital cities turn their visions of a more prosperous future into reality. Across America, EPA is partnering with communities to not only improve our health and the health of our environment, but also to create places where businesses want to invest and families want to live and grow.

    This month we announced five additional partner communities participating in the Greening America’s Capitals program: Montgomery, Alabama; Phoenix, Arizona; Washington, DC; Jackson, Mississippi; and Lincoln, Nebraska. These capital cities join Little Rock and a host of other cities throughout the nation in our work to create jobs, enhance the quality of life for residents and use public investments wisely through sustainable design and green development. 

    Greening America’s Capitals is just one of the many actions we’re taking through our Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration with the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation. This partnership recognizes that our communities benefit when we work together to align our transportation investments with our affordable housing investments and our environmental protection efforts. This smart approach to growth makes it easier for residents to live closer to jobs, schools and recreation, saving households time and money in transportation costs while reducing pollution and making cities more economically and environmentally sustainable.

    Bob Perciasepe is the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

  • Arizona Education Leaders Come to Washington DC to Discuss Education Policy

    The Obama Administration continually seeks opportunities to meet with state and local stakeholders, whether in Washington DC or in communities across the country. The White House and the Department of Education recently hosted a group of education leaders from across the country. Arizona State Senator David Schapira was part of the group and shared an overview of their day:

  • Local Leaders Discuss the President’s Rural Tour

    This week President Obama traveled through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois holding town hall meetings with residents in rural communities.  We heard from several state and local officials who attended the events on the impact of the President’s Rural Tour and what it meant to their communities:

    Linn County Supervisor Lu Barron attended the Rural Economic Forum with the President in Peosta, Iowa:

    [The] forum was a true cross-section of rural America, including farmers, small business owners and local governments and it provided us the opportunity to discuss critical issues facing rural communities and bring them to the attention of the President and key administration officials. It’s important for all of us to work with the Administration to strengthen our rural communities so they can thrive.

  • Small Business Matchmaking: Keeping America Moving at Department of Defense Event in Orlando

    DOD-led small business procurement summit in Orlando, Florida

    Some 700 people, including 475 small businesses, participated in a DOD-led small business procurement summit in Orlando, Florida on Monday, August 8, 2011 designed to give small businesses insight into how to do business with the federal government. (Photo courtesy of the City of Orlando.)

    The Federal government procures over $530 billion in goods and services on an annual basis. President Obama is committed to ensuring that small businesses, including four key socioeconomic small business groups — small disadvantaged, women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and HUBzone small businesses—have greater access to federal contract opportunities. As President Obama has said many times: “If we want to keep America moving forward, we need to keep investing in our small businesses.”

    As part of that commitment, the White House asked all the major federal agencies in January to conduct two high-level business-to-business matchmaking events around the country. Since then, a total of 18 Cabinet and Senate-confirmed administration officials have participated in 16 small business matchmaking events around the country, including in Atlanta, San Antonio, Huntsville, and Detroit. Over 6,000 small business owners have already participated in these events.