Friday, June 29, 2007

Congressman Al Wynn Passes Energy Amendment

The Energy and Commerce Committee adopted an amendment offered by Congressman Albert Wynn, right, Chairman of the House Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, to a comprehensive, energy efficiency package. The Energy and Environmental Block Grant (EEBG) amendment (H.R. 2447) creates a $10 billion energy efficiency block grant program, modeled after the hugely successful HUD Community Development Block Grant Program. The EEBG program would provide formula-based grants to cities, counties, and States to help address the problem of global warming at the local and neighborhood level. The EEBG legislation, will now be included as part of the energy efficiency package reported out of the full Energy and Commerce Committee for later consideration by the House.

The underlying energy legislation, once passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law, will improve the nation's energy efficiency; increase reliability and economy in electricity supply, transmission, and distribution; provide loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gases, and that employ new or significantly improved technologies; increase the availability of renewable fuels through promotion of renewable fuels infrastructure; and encourage the domestic development and production of plug-in hybrids.

The program distributes one-time planning grants to local and State governments to support development of an Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection Strategy, with annual grants available upon Federal approval of activities set forth under the Strategy. While no match is required, any recipient of funds must submit a report to the Secretary within two years of receiving initial funding and annually thereafter, describing the energy efficiency gains and greenhouse gas reductions.

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