Daily Energy Insider: U.S. Reps. Fitzpatrick, Stanton and Veasey seek reauthorization for state and local energy efficiency project grants

Legislation introduced this week by U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), and Marc Veasey (D-TX) is seeking to reauthorize and increase funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG), which benefits state, local and tribal governments.

Under the EECBG, these governments can gain grants for initiatives that reduce fossil fuel emissions and conserve energy. When the program was last funded, it yielded $54 million for the counties and cities in Stanton’s state alone. Now, the three Congressmen want to provide EECBG with $3.5 billion annually for the next five years.

“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,” Veasey said. “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 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.”

This bill was introduced once before in 2019, and although it advanced through the House, it never made it through the Senate. The program itself was first authorized in 2007, though, and provided up to $2 billion per year over the five year period that followed. It was later funded again under the Obama administration. To date, it is the largest nationwide direct investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at a community level.

Its latest incarnation would further, though, with modifications of the original program to promote clean energy sources and diversify local energy supplies. Grant recipients would be allowed to use funds on infrastructure like electric vehicle charging stations.

“Investing in energy-efficient infrastructure is an excellent way to continue boosting American energy independence and local economies across the country,” Fitzpatrick said. “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. Through this reauthorization, we can also assist local governments and communities in diversifying our energy supplies by promoting the use of cleaner alternative fuels.”