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Message From Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt S. Erskine

Matt S. Erskine

Dear Friends,

The recently released Strategic Plan for the U.S. Department of Commerce outlines five major objectives: trade and investment, data, innovation, environment, and operational excellence. EDA plays a significant role in each of these. Under the environmental objective, EDA’s work includes ensuring that communities and businesses have the necessary information, products, and services to prepare for and prosper in a changing environment. Given this critical component and since April 22nd is Earth Day, this month’s Innovate@EDA is focused on environmental issues, green investments, and building community resilience. EDA has made more than 130 investments that support green projects and resilience in the last 5 years alone. As climate change becomes more pronounced, it is crucial that new development and infrastructure account for and mitigate potential environmental impact.

EDA’s triple bottom line tool is one way EDA helps potential grantees focus on the environment. In this issue of Innovate@EDA, Dr. Janet Hammer of Portland State University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs, who heads the Initiative on Triple Bottom Line Development, answers Q&A on the tool and its uses.

Read about the success of EDA grantee the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, which is conducting numerous projects that build warmer, more energy efficient homes in the circumpolar regions of the plant.

Check out the spotlight section for an update on the i6 Green Challenge winners to see what they have accomplished with the grants they received in 2011.

Finally, learn what the Administration – including fellow Commerce bureau NOAA – is doing about to help people and businesses deal with climate change in the highlight section.

The environment belongs to all of us. We all have a responsibility to safeguard the planet for future generations and drive resilience planning and action. EDA, the Department, and the Administration recognize the necessity of the public sector, business, and higher education institutions working together in this endeavor. I hope the stories contained in this issue of Innovate@EDA will inspire you this month. Thank you for your interest and for your partnership.