Senators Menendez and Sanders, Local Government Leaders Urge President Obama and Congress to Continue Investment in Local Job-Creating Clean Energy Projects
WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lent their support today to local elected leaders launching a national campaign to secure ongoing federal investment in local job-creating clean energy initiatives. The campaign launch comes one week after U.S. Senate leadership announced it doesn’t have support to pass climate legislation this summer.
“The Senate missed an opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign energy and create an ongoing funding source for local job-creating clean energy projects by failing to move climate legislation this summer,” stated Andrew Seth, executive director of Climate Communities. “It is now more important than ever for President Obama to include funding for energy efficiency block grants in his FY 2012 budget. We commend Senators Menendez, Sanders and Lugar for their leadership in creating and fighting for the energy block grants, and we look forward to working with them to ensure that funding for this important program is provided in FY 2012.”
“Helping states, cities and towns go forward with energy efficiency and sustainable energy projects will reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs and create good-paying jobs,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Green Jobs Subcommittee. “I helped write the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program because I believe that it is absolutely imperative that we involve citizens at the grassroots level in this effort. We want and need the thinking of people at the local level as to how they can move their cities and towns forward in this area because they know the needs of their towns, schools and public buildings better than anyone else – and this program gives them the flexibility to prioritize how these federal funds should be spent.”
“Energy efficiency and conservation are two of the cheapest and cleanest energy technologies out there, which can help save families money and rebuild our economy,” said Senator Robert Menendez. “That is why I helped create this program and secure $3.2 billion in funding for it as part of the Recovery Act. Cities, counties, and states across this country are using these funds to create jobs, save taxpayers money, and clean the air we breathe. As a former Mayor myself, I recognize the value of a program like the Energy Block Grants that gives local governments the flexibility they need to address local needs.”
Hundreds of local elected officials have joined Climate Communities’ Energy Block Grants Work! Campaign calling on President Obama to fully fund the Department of Energy’s critical Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. The campaign is also calling on Congress to include an ongoing source of funding for the EECBG program in climate/energy legislation.
“King County is leveraging $6.14 million of federal energy efficiency grant money to secure more than $25 million of federal, local and private funds for projects including energy efficiency retrofits for low-income housing and electrification of our public transportation system,” stated Larry Phillips, King County Councilmember and Climate Communities co-chair. “We expect to save more than $430,000 annually in energy costs and create more than 160 jobs. We could do so much more in our community, but not without ongoing federal investment.”
Funded in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, EECBG grants totaling $3.2 billion are empowering thousands of local governments to create new clean energy jobs through investments in building efficiency, community scale renewable energy, and other projects that save energy. The grant program will end in 2011 without action by the Obama Administration and Congress.
Local government actions have the potential to dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Energy Information Administration, more than 40 percent of energy consumption and carbon emissions come from residential and commercial buildings and one-third is generated by the transportation sector. Local governments set and enforce building codes, determine transportation and land use policies and provide critical education and incentives to businesses and homeowners to implement energy-saving measures.
Local elected leaders are in Washington this week to tell policymakers how EECBG dollars are creating thousands of new jobs, cutting public, commercial and residential energy costs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
About Climate Communities: Climate Communities is a national coalition of cities and counties that is educating federal policymakers about the essential role of local governments in addressing climate change and promoting a strong local-federal partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, see www.climatecommunities.us. For more information about Climate Communities’ Energy Block Grants Work! Campaign, go to www.energyblockgrants.org.
SOURCE Climate Communities