The Weekly Buzz

A roundup of news from cities around the country. This week: Stimulus money for geothermal power in Reno, America’s most toxic cities, and hope for a streetcar system in Charlotte.

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Forbes magazine names Georgia’s capital and largest city the “most toxic” in the U.S. — ahead of Detroit, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia. The magazine created the list using information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, counting facilities that reported releasing toxins into the environment, total pounds of certain toxic chemicals released into the air, water and earth, days per year that air pollution was above healthy levels, and contaminated areas that the federal government has designated for cleanup efforts. (Read the article here.)


The Chesapeake Bay will get $50 million in funding, thanks to a bill that passed the Senate last week. In Maryland, the funds will include $1 million for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network, which provides support to more than 160 parks, wildlife refuges and museums around the bay. The bill also includes $2 million for the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County, and $500,000 for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.
(Read the article here.)


Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that power companies in Northern Nevada, mostly centered around Reno, will receive nearly $93 million in federal grants to develop geothermal power. The money will fund 20 projects in the area and create an estimated 1,100 jobs, said U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. The grant recipients will match the federal funds with private money and nearly triple the number of geothermal power plants in Nevada from 21 to 60, Reid said. The grants are being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus passed by Congress early this year to revive the economy. (Read the article here).


On Election Day, Charlotte elected Anthony Foxx, who’s been an outspoken advocate of developing a streetcar network in the city. In an October debate, Democrat Foxx said he supported a September decision to spend $4.5 million on an engineering study. He said a study showed that the streetcar, which would run from the Rosa Parks Transit Center on Beatties Ford Road to Eastland Mall, via Trade Street uptown, would bring $1 billion in investment to parts of town that badly need it. (Read the article here.)


A sweeping overhaul of California’s water system passed Wednesday, hailed as a necessary investment in safe, reliable water statewide. Critics warned that the overhaul, which would require borrowing $11 billion to enact, is overpriced and could siphon money from health and education. The legislation enables the state to closely control water delivery and use statewide. It imposes strict conservation rules in urban areas and supports the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem. It also paves the way for the construction of dams, levees and a controversial canal to bypass the delta and carry water from the Sacramento River to Central and Southern California. The state’s voters will decide in November 2010 whether to approve the $11 billion general obligation bond. (Read the article here.)

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Tags: infrastructurebuilt environmentgovernancebaltimoreatlantacity watercharlottesacramentoreno

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