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Des Moines Mayor Cownie Touts Benefits of EECBG Program at National Green Jobs Conference

By Kevin McCarty
May 24, 2010

More than 5,000 labor, environmental, business and other leaders convened in Washington (DC) for the 2010 National Conference on Good Jobs, Green Jobs, where Des Moines Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie urged continued federal investment in local energy and climate initiatives through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program.

At a May 5 session on the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and programs to assist energy efficiency and clean energy projects, Cownie directed his remarks to the benefits of continuing funding commitments to the EECBG program and how these resources are accelerating local energy and climate action. “EECBG funds are a commitment to local action and a commitment to a new partnership with local governments, one that we know will pay dividends,” said Cownie, who spoke on behalf of the Conference as chair of the Standing Committee on Metro Economies.

“At the end of the day, the real work of reducing energy use and carbon emissions is linked to local actions. The reality is that the work to be done on codes, land use decisions, transportation investment, financing structures and incentives, operations and systems, and the like, is inherently local,” Cownie said.

Cownie described how the energy block grant program, which was “conceived” by the Conference of Mayors, invests directly in many of the nation's cities and counties, places where local decisions have a significant impact on the nation's energy use and carbon emissions. “It is local actions and decisions that shape and influence how we develop, how we use energy, and how we organize our places for greater efficiency and for the deployment of new renewable energy resources,” he said.

Speaking directly to green jobs and the greening of the U.S. economy, Cownie said, “Community by community, this program is helping to forge a broader public consensus that acting on these questions means a healthier and more sustainable future. It means more jobs, new business startups, and the public sees tangible results in their own communities, where they care most about successful government action. And, that going green is about building stronger, healthier and more sustainable economies.”

Urging support for continued funding for the EECBG program, Cownie reminded the participants that, “Transforming the U.S. economy is no small undertaking.” He then added that, “One-time grants to cities, which average $1 million per recipient, are not sufficiently powerful to transform our local economies or the U.S. economy. This is why the mayors are advocating for sustained, annual funding for the program, so we continue to build on the initial ARRA-funding initiatives.”