U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan spent Thursday in rural North Carolina discussing the Obama Administration's work to strengthen rural economies. Perciasepe and Merrigan hosted a White House Rural Council meeting with local officials, community organizations, and businesses to discuss the benefits the American Jobs Act can have on rural communities and share a new report highlighting how small towns and rural places across the country are using federal resources to enhance economic vitality and protect the environment.
Developed by the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities in cooperation with USDA, the Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities report is the Obama Administration's latest effort to better coordinate federal programs for rural communities. The report discusses federal programs that help rural America, presents sample funding mechanisms and technical assistance opportunities and performance measures rural communities can use, and includes case studies showcasing rural accomplishments.
"The Obama Administration is committed to supporting economic development in rural communities through its landmark Partnership for Sustainable Communities report and through multiple provisions in the American Jobs Act," said Perciasepe. "Strategic use of federal programs, like those detailed in the report released today, can help strengthen these communities and revitalize their economies while preserving their rural heritage."
"By working together, HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA are making it easier for rural communities to access federal funding and use it to implement local and regional priorities," said USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan. "Coordinating federal investments achieves better results on the ground, meeting multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent."
Deputies Perciasepe and Merrigan unveiled the report in Brevard, N.C., a small community that is creating jobs and improving quality of life for its residents by building on its natural resources, traditional downtown, and experience with agriculture and manufacturing. Brevard and the region have used federal investments to enhance economic vitality in a way that is sustainable and homegrown.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and EPA to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation, and environmental protection. USDA is working with the partnership to help serve rural communities.