NLC Urges Funding for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program

By Duvall, Cherie | Nation's Cities Weekly, April 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

NLC Urges Funding for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program


Duvall, Cherie, Nation's Cities Weekly


With an ever-increasing number of cities going "green," NLC has a significant request to Congress for fiscal year 2009: appropriate $2 billion to fund the new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.

Enacted as part of. the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that became law last December, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant is a resource to provide grants to cities and towns for innovative practices designed to achieve greater energy efficiency and lower energy usage. The law authorizes an appropriation of up to $2 billion per year through 2012.

NLC's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee Chair Sandra Colvin Roy, councilmember, Minneapolis, is proud that NLC has made the grant one of its priorities for the year because she has observed that the nation's cities and towns have been leading the way in innovation of energy conservation and environmental protections that support communities and the national economy.

"Now, NLC is working with other state and local groups to secure funding for this flexible block grant because it will empower even more investment to protect the environment for the future and reduce our nation's dependence on others for the energy we need to support daily life," Roy said.

The grants awarded under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant would fund local initiatives including building and home energy conservation programs, energy audits, fuel conservation programs, building retrofits to increase energy efficiency, "smart growth" planning and zoning, and alternative energy programs.

More specifically, the program can be used to help cities undertake environmentally-friendly initiatives, such as updating building codes and old buildings, adopting renewable energy solutions, creating incentives for citizens to use transportation alternatives and implementing energy saving campaigns.

Message to Congress

NLC is taking the following messages to Congress as part of its lobbying efforts for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant:

* NLC thanks Congress for enacting comprehensive energy legislation, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

* A variety of challenges have brought increased attention and timeliness to sustainability, including the threat of climate change, rising energy prices and the depletion of natural resources

* Sustainability is a defining issue today, representing the broad notion that all activities should take into account implications for people and the environment so that actions meet the needs of the current generation without compromising future generations. …

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