June 22, 2008

Rep. Fattah Offers Nation’s Mayors Good News On Energy Efficiency Block Grants

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus, will be notifying the nation's mayors of an important first step toward vital funding for local energy efficiency programs when he addresses the 76th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami on Sunday.

"When I spoke at your winter meeting in Washington I pledged to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to seek funding for the Energy Efficiency Block Grants. Now I can tell you: funds are moving through the Congress and heading your way," Fattah said in remarks prepared for the Conference of Mayors plenary session Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Miami InterContinental Hotel. "These are the first dollars to be awarded for a grant designated to help local efforts in supporting energy efficiency and alternative energy projects," added Fattah.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants were authorized in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Fattah is announcing to the mayors that $295 million for the block grants was approved this past week by the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development. These would be the first dollars to be appropriated under the 2007 law.

"When the bill is passed this will be very good news for cities. Each community can design a grant application to fit its own energy efficiency needs - weatherization programs, wind and solar power, building more energy-efficient schools or police stations," Fattah said.

"It is innovation from the ground up, not dictated from Washington," he said. "It's all about energy efficiency and the mayors get to decide how best to use the grant money, not one-size-fits-all. And every city can expect a share of the pie."

Congressman Fattah, as chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Urban Caucus, as well as a member of the Appropriations energy subcommittee, has taken the lead in mobilizing colleagues for the cause of energy efficiency, joined by Caucus Vice Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH).

In January, Fattah praised the Conference of Mayors for putting energy efficiency as Number One on its Strong America Agenda. Energy Efficiency Block Grant funding goes 68 percent for city and county programs, 28 percent for state programs and the rest divided among tribal and competitive grant programs.

The Conference of Mayors, headed by President, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer of Trenton, N.J., and incoming President and host Mayor Manuel A. Diaz of Miami, is a nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Congressman Fattah will be sharing the podium at Sunday morning's plenary session with former President Bill Clinton.