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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Brian Schatz, Senator Mazie K. Hirono and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced today that Maui has been awarded a grant of technical assistance through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

The County of Maui will receive assistance to create a green streets strategy and develop sustainability strategies for small towns and rural areas. Green streets capture and filter stormwater runoff with vegetation and soils instead of moving water in underground pipe networks.  A green street decreases water pollution while beautifying neighborhoods with additional vegetation and also helps reduce flooding.  The assistance for Maui’s small towns and rural areas will explore potential code changes that promote walkable communities and encourage investment in existing neighborhoods while preserving rural land and open space.

The County of Maui has experienced significant growth over past decades and will continue to see development in the coming years.  The EPA assistance will help Maui County manage growth in a way that encourages local economic development while protecting the environment and preserving Maui’s unique character.

“EPA’s technical assistance will help the County of Maui make smart planning choices to protect the way of life on Maui while building a foundation for sustained economic growth in the decades to come.  Managing growth in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable is critical for Hawaii’s future.  I congratulate Mayor Arakawa and the County of Maui,” said Senator Brian Schatz.

“Maui County should be commended for its smart growth strategies that encourage sustainable economic growth while protecting Hawaii’s natural resources.  This EPA partnership is precisely the type of far-thinking approach that will pay dividends for decades to come,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

“Sustainability is an imperative for Hawai`i - it is the right thing to do and it is essential for the future and security of all of our communities,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has worked to promote environmental education and sustainability.  “Conservation of our land and protection of our water supply is critical, and we must make investments now to maintain our quality of life and economy.  This grant assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency will help the County of Maui promote responsible growth while preserving its precious rural land.”

Building Blocksfor Sustainable Communities is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities among EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  The interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.  The partnership is helping communities across the country create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses.

EPA selected 43 communities from 121 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with HUD, DOT and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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