|HUD No. 00-247|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||September 18, 2000|
CUOMO UNVEILS HUD E-MAPS
WASHINGTON - Saying that "informed decisions are the best decisions," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today unveiled a new application on HUD's website that will help people learn about environmental matters that affect their communities throughout the U.S.
Need to know if the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring a site near a home you want to buy? Or what federal resources can be marshaled to redevelop an abandoned factory or to protect a wetland in your town? Or want to know if there are any environmental hazards that your child walks by on the way to school?
Thanks to HUD E-MAPS, which was created by marrying HUD's Community 2020TM software to EPA databases, the answers to these and thousands of other questions are now just a few mouse clicks away. [The web address is www.hud.gov/emaps].
"Through HUD E-MAPS we're providing people with detailed, site-specific information about what the government is doing to protect the environment or promote community and economic development," Cuomo said. "Residents, advocacy organizations, local governments and others will now have easy access to data they need to have informed conversations and to make smart decisions about the future of their communities."
Joining Cuomo at today's launch were environmental activist and model Christie Brinkley; Denis Hayes, organizer of Earth Day and President of the Bullitt Foundation; and Greg Wetstone, director of programs, National Resources Defense Council.
Denis Hayes said: "Parents everywhere wonder whether their children's drinking water is polluted, and few of us know what's buried in our backyards. HUD E-MAPS will bring such information to everyone - including those in the nation's poorest neighborhoods. Information is power, and HUD E-MAPS is designed to give new power to people who cannot afford high-priced lawyers to protect their children from environmental assaults."
Greg Wetstone said: "HUD E-MAPS has the potential to be a real asset to the environmental community and citizens around the country who are concerned about what's happening environmentally in their neighborhoods. We're delighted that Secretary Cuomo and HUD are launching this initiative and we welcome it."
Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club said: "The information contained on HUD E-MAPS will help communities plan smarter and healthier neighborhoods. Families have the right to know about the quality of their environment. By providing valuable environmental information mixed with housing information and population data, you have effectively set up a "one-stop-shopping" site for decision-makers and citizens alike."
By using HUD E-MAPS data, Cuomo explained, communities will be able to make knowledgeable decisions about sites for new local facilities, such as public and assisted housing, or help prioritize the demolition of existing complexes. Similarly, a community interested in redeveloping an abandoned or underused industrial site can use the data to determine whether the land is contaminated and what financial resources area available to leverage redevelopment.
The backbone for the application launched today is HUD's Community 2020TMsoftware, a CD-ROM that provides users with more than 600 types of census data for geographic areas as big as a state or as small as a block. Developed initially in 1997 as an internal project management tool, the software has won an Innovations in Government Award from the Ford Foundation and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
The software provides detailed, site-specific financial, managerial, demographic and program information for virtually every entitlement or competitive grant awarded by HUD since 1992. It includes information on single-family and multi-family housing projects assisted by HUD's Federal Housing Administration.
Through the use of HUD E-MAPS, people can obtain:
- Site-specific information about all Superfund sites as well as descriptions of the laws and regulations governing the Superfund program.
- A listing and description of Brownfields, which are abandoned, idled or under-used industrial or commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is limited by real or perceived environmental contamination. Also included is information about Brownfields Tax Incentive Zones as well as the locations of its pilot programs.
- Reports about air pollution emitted from such sources as electric power plants, steel mills, factories, universities and others.
- Information that tracks which facilities use, manufacture, transport or release some 650 toxic chemicals, including information about air emissions, surface-water discharges, releases to land, underground injections and transfers to off-site locations.
- Information about businesses that generate, transport, treat, store and dispose of hazardous waste, including the status of permits, regulatory compliance and clean-up activities.
- Trend analyses of hazardous waste generation.
- Information about which companies have been issued permits to discharge waste water into the nation's rivers, including expiration date of the permit, how much a company is permitted to discharge, and how much and what the company has discharged.
HUD is also exploring with the Veterans Administration and the Department of Transportation the possibility of overlaying their data bases onto its Community 2020TM software.