EPA praises Onondaga County for green infrastructure work

Oct 22, 2013

A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency was in Syracuse on Monday to highlight the county's work in green infrastructure.

Hitting on Onondaga County's Save the Rain program, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe outlined the agency's updated national green infrastructure strategy.

He noted the city and county's collaboration efforts in installing permeable pavement, rain barrels, green rooftops and rain gardens.

"So they’ve laid out a long-term vision here that they want," Perciasepe said. "It won’t work if the city does it by itself, or the county does it by itself. And I think that’s really one of the more important lessons here in addition to the technical work they’ve been doing."

The EPA's strategy, an update of one laid out in 2011, has five main goals:

  1. Federal coordination
  2. Clean Water Act regulatory support
  3. Research and information exchange
  4. Funding and financing
  5. Capacity building

The new strategy will not mean more spending or staff, Perciasepe says. Turning back to the theme of collaboration, he says it's about agencies working together.

"That is one of the solutions to constrained resources, is having states, local governments and the federal agencies working together so we’re not duplicating each other, we’re learning from each other and we’re building on each other’s expertise," he said.

Federal and state agencies cooperating with local governments will make everyone's lives easier, says Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

"Projects that are already in the pipeline, we're doing it smarter," she said.