Rep. Greg Stanton, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Rep. Marc Veasey of Texas introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize and increase funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG).
The bipartisan effort provides grants to state, local and tribal governments to support initiatives that will reduce fossil fuel emissions and conserve energy. The bill reauthorizes the program and provides it with $3.5 billion annually for the next five years.
Arizona counties and cities received more than $54 million in EECBG funding when the program was last funded; Stanton hopes to bring those dollars back to the state.
“In our fast-growing, desert state, we have an urgent responsibility to invest in energy efficient infrastructure that is both sustainable and makes good business sense,” said Stanton. “This proven, nonpartisan block grant program will give local and tribal governments the flexibility to invest in their own energy conservation initiatives and ultimately create new, good jobs.”
“Investing in energy efficient infrastructure is an excellent way to continue boosting American energy independence and local economies across the country. This reauthorization of the EECBG program will provide incentives and opportunities for state and local governments to promote energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel emissions,” said Fitzpatrick. “Through this reauthorization, we can also assist local governments and communities in diversifying our energy supplies by promoting the use of cleaner alternative fuels.”
“The bipartisan appeal of the EECBG Program has been clear since its 2007 inception during the Bush Administration and its later reauthorization during the Obama Administration in 2009,” said Veasey. “This bill will get resources straight into local communities by providing job opportunities and reducing emissions. By reauthorizing the program, we will be assisting state and local governments who are in a dire financial state right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will improve energy efficiency in all sectors of the local economy and allow flexibility to fund projects that best address local conditions and needs. Cities in the North Texas district that I represent, like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, have benefited tremendously from this program. The City of Dallas, for example, used their grant money to finance energy efficiency improvements of 248 city-owned buildings resulting in more than a million dollars a year in lowered energy costs.”
Stanton and Veasey first introduced this bill in 2019. It previously advanced through the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was included in the Moving Forward Act and the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, both of which passed the full House last year. It has also earned endorsements from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and League of Conservation Voters.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program was first authorized under the Bush Administration in the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007 to provide up to $2 billion a year over a five-year period from 2008 through 2012 and was later funded under the Obama Administration. The EECBG Program represents the largest nationwide direct investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at the community level in U.S. history. According to the Department of Energy, for every EECBG dollar spent, program participants received approximately $1.76 in bill savings over the lifetime of the measures installed.
Stanton, Fitzpatrick and Veasey’s bill includes modifications to the original program to promote clean energy sources and help diversify local energy supplies. It would specifically authorize grant recipients to use funds on infrastructure to deliver alternative fuels such as natural gas stations, electric vehicle charging stations, and other next-generation charging technologies.
Since 2008, the EECBG Program has rapidly increased the number of communities directly engaged with the Department of Energy on initiatives to increased renewable energy capacity, technical knowledge, and energy efficiency projects at the local level.