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Nearly 400 Mayors Already with Diaz on EECBG Funding Letter

By Kevin McCarty
May 25, 2009

Conference President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz continues to enlist his colleagues – nearly 400 mayors already – on a mayoral letter to Congressional leaders to urge full funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program in Fiscal Year 2010 (FY’10).

Specifically, Diaz in a letter being circulated to U.S. mayors asks Congressional leaders to “support full funding levels for the EECBG program in the FY’10 Appropriations bill.”

With initial funding of $2.8 billion provided in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) enacted earlier this year, Diaz is leading a broad-based call to mayors to join with him to convince Congress to build upon the ARRA funding level and invest in local energy strategies, which include renewable energy technology, energy conservation and alternative transportation systems. “By including funding commitments in the FY 2010 Appropriations bill for the EECBG program, you will enable cites to sustain and accelerate these types of community-based, energy conservation initiatives that have both local and national benefits.”

In the letter, Congress is also reminded of the efforts of more than 940 mayors who have pledged to seek to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions in their cities. “More than 940 mayors have signed The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging actions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels, a goal that mirrors the Kyoto Protocol. To meet this goal, we need to continue our federal partnership to assist us with our efforts to expedite our national response to meeting our goals of energy independence and climate protection.”

Mayors who have not yet signed on can do so by contacting the Conference or by emailing the mayor’s full name and city to The mayoral letter will be sent to Congress after the Memorial Day recess.

Sens. Menendez, Sanders and Lugar Lead Senate Effort on EECBG Funding

Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Bernard Sanders (VT) and Richard G. Lugar (IN) are leading an effort within the Senate to garner support from their colleagues for a letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee, requesting them to include EECBG funding at the ARRA levels during Senate action on the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. All three of these Senate champions are former mayors who support strong and continuing funding commitments to the EECBG program to invest in locally-based energy and climate solutions.

Menendez originated the Congressional effort to enact the EECBG program, and was later joined by Sanders in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to make this initiative part of legislation that would later become the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.” The EECBG program was the central element of the Mayors’ 10-Point Plan developed by then Conference President Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and Conference leaders.

President Obama supported EECBG funding as part of the ARRA law, but did not request additional funding for the program in his Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request, which was unveiled last month.

To support funding for the program over the medium and longer term, the Conference is also pressing Congress to dedicate funding to the EECBG program structure in pending energy and climate legislation that is now moving forward in the U.S. House of Representatives. If incorporated, it would provide a source of predictable funding for the EECBG program, beginning as soon as 2012.