Palmer, Pelosi Tout Energy Block Grant, Green Jobs to Strengthen the Economy
By Debra DeHaney-Howard
March 10, 2008
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) joined with Conference President Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, New Jersey Representatives Rush Holt and Frank Pallone, and Isles’ YouthBuild Institute Student Nikita McFarland at a February 29 press conference in Trenton to tout the benefits of green energy and green job training initiatives to spur local economic development, employment opportunities and U.S. economic growth.
In his opening remarks, Palmer commended Pelosi and other House members, including Holt and Pallone, for responding to the mayors’ call for action by Congress to create an energy efficiency block grant program to support cities and counties in curbing energy use and developing new renewable energy supplies. “Through Speaker Pelosi’s leadership and the hard work of mayors throughout the country and other people like Congressmen Holt and Pallone, Congress passed an energy bill last year and in the bill is our $2 billion energy block grant program that will enable communities, large and small, and counties to create the kind of energy efficiency that we want in our cities, Palmer said.” Holt and Pallone also praised Pelosi for her leadership and cited the importance of the new energy block grant program.
During the event at the Isles YouthBuild Center, Pelosi praised Palmer for his leadership on behalf of the nation’s mayors and as President of the Conference of Mayors. “He has exercised such tremendous leadership,” Pelosi said. In discussing the block grant program and the Conference’s 10-Point Plan, Pelosi said, “When they did their 10-point program and brought it to the newly elected Congress, this [energy block grant] was their number one point in the 10-Point program, which gave us all such hope because the mayors are where the rubber meets the road.”
Palmer spoke to the need to secure funding for the program as Congress begins debate on new appropriations measures. “Now we are here again working with Speaker Pelosi to make sure that, although the President signed it and the Congress approved it, we have to get it appropriated. So, we now have to get the $2 billion,” Palmer said.
Expressing his appreciation to Pelosi for coming to his home city, Palmer said, “We are glad she is here and this shows her continued support. What this means to Trenton is we will get about $480,000 each year for 5 years from the new energy block grant program. It could even be more depending upon how things go to help Isles and other non-profits get funded to help our cities retro-fit buildings to create green collar jobs and also green collar careers.”
“As President of The United States Conference of Mayors, I am proud that my organization today has commitments from 802 Mayors from across this country, determined to foster grassroots efforts to conserve energy and preserve our planet. As Mayor of Trenton, I am heartened that our local green initiative [Trenton Green Initiative] is finding ways to connect energy conservation to economic growth, including the jobs involved in constructing and creating green buildings, as in the case of the training program that Isles, Inc. and SunPower are developing for our students, Palmer added.”
”The Trenton Green Initiative is enhancing the public-private partnerships for climate protection. From the Speaker of the House to the young people in the classroom here today, we are joining hands to foster innovation,” Palmer said.
Pelosi praised Palmer, Holt, Pallone and others for their commitment to the future of young people studying at the Trenton Isles YouthBuild Center. “What you young people are doing right now in Trenton is you are inventing something very new. You are getting a training that kids did not get a few years ago, which is creating jobs of the future…jobs that are a part of our national security because they will make us energy independent from foreign oil.”
As part of the Mayor’s Trenton Green initiative, the Isles YouthBuild Institute is collaborating with SunPower on a solar panel installation training program for youth to begin in April. As Conference President, Palmer has made creation of an energy block grant program, climate protection and green jobs in cities the top legislative priority of the 10-Point Plan for the nation’s mayors. The new energy law authorizes $2 billion annually in block grant funding for cities, counties and states, beginning this fiscal year (FY 2008).