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Stories by Alex Brown

Cities support community land trusts to protect affordable housing

As housing prices skyrocket in neighborhoods across the country, some state lawmakers and local officials are turning to a decades-old model for keeping homes affordable: community land trusts.... Read more»0

More states want power to approve wetlands development

Critics fear that Florida’s move to assume authority over wetland management could open the floodgates for more states to claim Section 404 authority - but the hurdles that have mostly stymied such efforts for decades remain significant. ... Read more»0

Electric vehicles charge ahead in statehouses

Automakers are planning to put nearly 1 million new electric vehicles on American roads in 2022 as sales in the United States doubled in 2021 compared with 2020, and lawmakers are trying to make sure their states are ready. ... Read more»0

Billions in tree funds could help cities prep for climate change

The Build Back Better plan being debated in Congress would provide $2.5 billion to improve and maintain urban tree canopy - unshaded areas suffer from a heat island effect and trees help filter air pollution and absorb stormwater runoff - with focus on underserved communities.... Read more»0

OSHA to Arizona and other states: Protect workers from COVID or forfeit authority

In a rare move, federal labor officials have threatened to take over Arizona, South Carolina and Utah’s workplace safety programs because they failed to adopt emergency COVID-19 rules to protect health care workers. ... Read more»0

Drought-stricken western towns say no to developers

The nation’s five fastest-growing states are all in the Southwest or Mountain West, and communities are facing difficult questions about water scarcity and what it means for future growth— because climate change is expected to make such droughts more frequent and intense.... Read more»0

OSHA will issue heat standards to protect workers

President Joe Biden announced this week that his administration’s efforts to address extreme heat will include new rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers from dangerous conditions.... Read more»0

States embrace vaccine mandates despite potential worker exodus

Before Pres. Biden’s announcement requiring millions of workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly, 18 states and the District of Columbia already had told public sector workers to get their jabs or risk losing their jobs.... Read more»0

As scorching heat is killing workers, some states stepping in

Federal safety regulators have issued no standards to protect workers from heat-related hazards - even as climate change increases the risk of deadly heat waves and extreme weather conditions - prompting some states to begin enacting regulations on their own.... Read more»0

Lost hikers rely on unpaid rescuers, and one state could change that

As search and rescue teams across the country are hampered by an aging volunteer base and struggling to keep up with a surge in calls for help, a Colorado law enacted earlier this year could lead to a dramatic rethinking of the current current SAR structure.... Read more»0

Trees: The critical infrastructure low-income neighborhoods lack

Policymakers and advocates are aiming to correct decades of inequities in urban tree canopy in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color with efforts to create an equitable tree canopy and increase urban forestry efforts.... Read more»0

Native American tribes expect little help in fighting coronavirus spread

As tribes across the country take steps to fight the spread of the coronavirus, they’re doing so mindful that the virus has proven especially dangerous to the elderly, a venerated group in many Native communities.... Read more»0