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October 22, 2021

 

 
 
Just Transition Fund  
 

The Just Transition Fund (JTF) is seeking proposals for coal impacted communities that plan to apply for one or more of the federal funding opportunities available in the coming year. JTF is offering up to $25,000 for qualified 501(c)(3) organizations looking at economic development projects, workforce development projects, and/or initiatives that improve broadband access. Funds can be used to engage technical experts for research, analysis, and grant-writing, organize inclusive community partnerships, conduct stakeholder engagement and support community planning, and qualify as private matching funds. Apply by November 15. More details can be found here. The JTF has compiled a list of federal grant, loan, and technical assistance for economic development opportunities that might be of interest to communities in Illinois. You can find that list here.

 

 
 
  Donate Gourds
 

Don’t toss your end-of-season pumpkins in the trash, says Chris EnrothUniversity of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “In a landfill, pumpkins and other organic materials are buried and rot without oxygen, which creates the potent greenhouse gas methane,” Enroth says. Instead, give gourds a second life by donating them to a zoo or wildlife rehab center or composting them. It is common for natural areas to become a dumping spot for yard waste, pumpkins, straw, and other organic decorations. The thought is that these items will compost, but Peggy Doty, Illinois Extension energy and environment stewardship educator, says it has a negative effect. “Straw and pumpkins smother native plants and create odd little microhabitats that are not healthy and full of molds,” Doty says. “Pumpkins can now be found growing in preserves, probably from last year’s pumpkin drop off.” Straw smothers plants and takes a long time to decompose and if it blows over roads, it is hazardous, and staff have to pick it up. Leaving pumpkins for wild animals to eat can also create problems. If dropped off in ditches or near roadsides, animals will be drawn in close to traffic where they may get hit. Every fall, the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic treats wild animals that get trapped or tangled in decorations. Many municipalities have composting facilities where residents can drop off pumpkins and other organic materials. A list of compost facilities is available on the Illinois EPA website at www2.illinois.gov/epa.

 

 
 
Broadband USA  
 

If you’re looking for federal funding options for broadband and digital inclusion, check out NTIA’s new Interactive Federal Funding Guide. Released in September, the Guide is an enhancement to BroadbandUSA’s “one-stop” federal funding site and provides an interactive, step-by-step approach for users to filter through more than 90 broadband-related programs compiled from 12 federal agencies and the Federal Communications Commission. These programs were included in the BroadbandUSA FY21 website update, which was recently updated with EDA’s American Rescue Plan Programs. It highlights general information about each program, including program descriptions, important dates, contact information, and links to program websites. Developed in response to feedback from users of the federal funding site, the Interactive Guide can be used offline and across multiple platforms, including tablets and mobile devices, providing an option for users with limited access to the internet or digital devices.

 

 
 
  LGE Webinar Series
 

Federal agency energy and water policies are set by statutes (laws) and Executive Orders (EOs).  In turn, individual federal agencies can set their own policies above and beyond those required by overall federal policies.  Please join Illinois Extension and the Illinois Geothermal Coalition to learn about specific federal energy and water sustainability requirements and publicly available resources regarding the performance metrics. Additionally, presenters from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will cover a U.S. Army initiative to improve energy and water resilience at its installations, which goes above and beyond federal energy and water sustainability requirements.  The Department of Defense recognizes that disruptions in energy and water can affect critical missions, and the Army’s initiative towards improving energy and water resilience is one of the first to quantify the energy and water requirements for resilience for critical facilities. This model could prove useful to university and government facilities in Illinois who wish to improve sustainability and resilience. Register here.

 

 
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

November 9 - Energy Transitions: Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA)

November 9 - Geothermal Illinois Resiliency Series: Federal Sustainability Models

November 16 - Illinois Connected Communities Series: Broadband Access

 
 
 
 
 

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