The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.

The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.

Environmental and Economic Policy, Planning, and Protection

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Brownfields Community Benefits Project

The E.P. Systems Group, Inc., is are pleased to announce that, under the leadership of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech and the Center for Environmental Policy and Management at the University of Louisville, we have received a $1,000,000 award under the EPA’s Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance grant program. Together with partners from Lazarus LLC, we will develop and pilot test a Brownfields Community Benefits Assessment Tool Kit (BCBAT) over the next five years. This project is unique in that it will re-examine and augment traditional economic benefit models for redevelopment and in-fill to include a broader set of indicators that have until recently been difficult to systematically measure. It will also explore the efficacy and value of including hyper-local community collected data in these models now that technological advances open the door to systematic and consistent collection of that level of information. The tool kit will be based on an easy to use portable app linked with a web-based desktop portal. The system will use accessible national, state, regional and local data and hyper-local data as the foundation for benefit calculation formulas we develop.

The goal of this project is to enhance community decision makers’ capacity to measure and track the benefits of redeveloping brownfields and thus expand the number of abandoned, vacant, and under-utilized properties that get cleaned up and considered community assets. Our pilot community will be Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, a community that has made huge strides in successful brownfields redevelopment, implemented policies on open data, and developed innovative tracking of vacant, abandoned and brownfields properties.

In addition to Dr. Peter B. Meyer, EPSG President and Chief Economist, our team include:

Joe Schilling, J.D., LL.M., Senior Fellow and former Interim Director of the Metropolitan Institute, Virginia Tech.

Dr. Lauren C. Heberle, Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Management, University of Louisville.

Chris Harrell, J.D., M.P.A., Founder and Director of Redevelopment for Lazarus Group LLC of Indianapolis, and Lazarus LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary based in Louisville, KY.

Steering Urban Transformations

That was the theme of the tri-lingual (English/Spanish/Portuguese) symposium of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association (IUPEA), held in La Plata, Argentina, in September, 2014.  EPSG Associate Melissa Saunders addressed the issues in Defining Local Planning Objectives During Global Climate Change in a presentation prepared for the symposium.   Her presentation considered the contexts of planning decision-making and how stress due to current events and disasters can distort what would otherwise seem to be rational processes. Dr. Peter Meyer, EPSG President, a member of the IUPEA Board and of the symposium’s organizing committee, delivered her argument in her absence due to illness.

Dr. Meyer is working with the organizing committee for the 12th IUPEA Symposium, scheduled for 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal, as Board liaison. That practitioner-scholar collaboration will be developed on the theme of  “CITIES FOR US: engaging communities and citizens for sustainable development.”

Urban Climate Change Adaptation

The Urban Climate Change Research Network, an international team led out of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is currently preparing the Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities for release in December 2015 at the  Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris with case study docking stations and other web data access available for the June 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

The report is a collaboration of over 450 practitioners and scholars from across the globe who are addressing issues associated with implementation at the urban level of the Durban Adaptation Charter for Local Governments. Dr. Peter Meyer, EPSG President, is one of the Lead Authors of the key cross-cutting issues chapter on Economics, Finance and the Role of the Private Sector and will be participating in the publication and launch events.

“Resilience” is NOT Enough

E.P. Systems Group President Peter Meyer and Associate Melissa Saunders contributed to the 14th annual National Conference on Science and the Environment in Washington in January, 2014.  Addressing the conference theme of “Building Climate Solutions,,” they examined how misuse and misunderstanding of “resilience,” a term that came into wide use after Superstorm Sandy, has confounded state and local government efforts to plan coherently for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Raising Investment Funds for Clean Energy Programs & Working with Financial Institutions

EPSG President Peter Meyer will present a webinar offering an introduction to clean energy financing options to small local governments, economic development authorities, and non-profit organizations that wish to seek financing from private institutions to launch clean energy programs on Thursday, December 5, 2013; 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST. Different types of financing and lenders will be reviewed, including how they are likely to respond to the risks and opportunities associated with clean energy program funding. Then, a step-by-step process for approaching lenders will be reviewed, and additional resources for taking these steps will be highlighted. Register now.

Spurring Local Economic Development with Clean Energy Programs

EPSG President Peter Meyer will be anchoring a webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy from 3:00 to 4:30 on November 7, addressing how communities can use energy efficiency and renewable energy programs as local economic development initiatives. Come and join him and presenters from Babylon, NY and Newton, IA, who will discuss their municipalities’ successes. You can register for free at <https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/372059046>.

Promoting Energy Investments and Job Creation

Come and join The E.P. Systems Group and its President, Peter Meyer, at the 2013 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington DC!

The conference, a project of the BlueGreen Alliance and an array of labor and environmental groups, with active participation by local government and community-based organizations, as well as members of the Obama Administration, is April 16-18, with some pre-conference events on April 15.  Check out the array of sessions, spanning everything from improving manufacturing competitiveness to community approaches to improving energy efficiency in homes. Just go to: <http://www.greenjobsconference.org> — multiple options for attendance are available.

The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.,, is a convener of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference.

Assessing NEPA Compliance in Addressing Project Alternatives

EPSG, acting on behalf of the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation in Louisville, KY, completed review of the final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision submitted by the Federal Highway Administration and the Kentucky and Indiana state transportation offices in support of a plan to build two new Interstate-grade bridges across the Ohio River. Filing an affidavit filed in support of CART’s legal claims against the incomplete EIS in January, 2013, Dr. Meyer found that (1) transit and street-level bridge alternatives were arbitrarily rejected, (2) no alternatives involving a combination of new roads and transit were even considered, (3) the transportation needs of 65,000 households in the area without cars were ignored, and (4) plans for placing tolls on the bridges would generate revenues of more than six times those needed for the project. The combination of flaws he identified justify a claim that the bridge proponents failed to consider and ameliorate unreasonable burdens placed on low income drivers needing to cross the river for work and on households without cars, both populations predominantly minority and protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act..

Brownfields 2013 is coming – and EPSG will be there!

EPA’s national brownfields conference is coming to Atlanta, GA, May 15-17. This 15th National Brownfields Conference will include two and a half days of networking and educational programming. This year the conference features more than 100 educational sessions, including lively panel discussions, engaging town hall meetings, dynamic roundtable discussions, outstanding plenary sessions, special trainings, film screenings, book signings and more!

Come Join EPA and EPSG’s President Peter B. Meyer at this major event of interest to all urban developers, proponents of smart growth, and advocates for environmental protection and environmental justice. Dr. Meyer will be presenting in the Environmental Redevelopment Forum as well as participating in other educational sessions.

For more information, just log on to www.brownfieldsconference.org

We look forward to seeing you there!!

Urban Regeneration, Energy Efficiency and Brownfield Renewal in Europe

Peter B. Meyer, Phd, President of The E.P. Systems Group, Inc,, recently returned from a series of assignments in Europe. He worked on projects supported by the European Union and the United Kingdom and spoke at an international confer3ence on contaminated land in Poland.

Dr. Meyer first spent 10 days working on innovative solutions to scarcity and other problems of an impoverished neighborhood in the Borough of Tower Hamlets in London, UK, The initiative was part of the Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment (SCIBE) project, a trans-european initiative funded by the Humanities in European Research Area program of the EU. Working with a team of practitioners from Brazil, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, and Turkey he helped develop an initiative to broaden participation by women and other under-represented parties in identifying development needs in the heavily Bangladeshi neighborhood of Bromley-by-Bow.

He then participated in the 6th International Conference on Innovative Solutions for Revitalization of Degraded Areas, held in Ustron, Poland. He presented a paper to a predominantly Eastern European audience on “Generating Renewable Energy on Derelict Lands,” arguing that such efforts delivered to both the environmentalists’ dream and the economists’ policy prescriptions.

Finally, he moderated and served as a discussant at the presentation of the Final Report of the project on Suburban Neighborhood Adaptation for a Changing Climate, which he had also served as an adviser. The report, based on research in suburbs across the UK, was received by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of the Department for Communities and Local Government at a public meeting at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London.

The E.P. Systems Group, Inc., continues to develop and draw on examples of economically efficient and environmentally protective economic development in settings across the globe as part of its core mission of correcting the misperception of inherent conflict between economic and environmental objectives.

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