A task force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Policy Resolutions: 74th Annual Conference (Las Vegas, 2006)


WHEREAS, The US Conference of Mayors defines green infrastructure as the interconnected network of open spaces and natural areas, such as greenways, wetlands, parks, forest preserves and native plant vegetation, that provide wildlife habitat, natural drainage, recreational opportunities and help to sustain our Nationís cities; and

WHEREAS, The US Conference of Mayors recognizes that green infrastructure naturally manages stormwater, reduces flooding risk and improves air and water quality, thus performing many of the same functions as traditionally built infrastructure, often at a fraction of the cost; and

WHEREAS, The US Conference of Mayors recognizes that the rapid expansion of urban and suburban growth has resulted in a general loss of natural systems which manage stormwater, allow for the natural replenishment of groundwater aquifers, provide wildlife habitat, improve air quality and the carbon sequestration capabilities of plants and trees, and provide the natural amenities that make the nationís cities a pleasure to live in; and

WHEREAS, this loss of green infrastructure has resulted in increased groundwater aquifer depletion, increased untreated sewer discharge into urban waterways, rising urban temperatures, increased pollution of waterways through surface water runoff, and a general decrease in the quality of life of our Nationís cities; and

WHEREAS, reduced natural capacity for water treatment increases the costs of maintaining urban water management systems; and

WHEREAS, the General Accounting Office, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the American Society of Civil Engineers estimate that the Nation faces up to a $1 trillion dollar deficit in drinking and wastewater infrastructure over the next 20 years and the Conference of Mayors believes that investment in green infrastructure could dramatically reduce those costs; and

WHEREAS, rising temperatures in urban areas, as the consequence of increased paving and minimal tree cover, result in the urban heat island effect and in higher energy costs for the Nationís citizens and businesses; and

WHEREAS, The US Conference of Mayors recognizes green infrastructureís important contribution towards improved air quality, land conservation, wildlife preservation, water quality improvements, and thus quality of life in the Nationís cities; and

WHEREAS, The US Conference of Mayors acknowledges that many traditionally planned and built infrastructure projects could be modified to include green infrastructure elements resulting in reduced construction and maintenance costs; and

WHEREAS, the Nationís mayors applaud the federal governmentís leadership role on green infrastructure research, through the research and project development efforts being conducted by such agencies as the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agricultureís Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the US Department of the Interiorís National Park Service and the US Department of Commerceís SEA Grant program; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The US Conference of Mayors urges the Congress to provide incentives and funding mechanisms to encourage green infrastructure strategies and approaches for municipal infrastructure improvement projects; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the nationís mayors to implement local programs and local incentives to increase the amount of green infrastructure within their own communities.

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