Energy Standing Committee

Energy Policy Adopted at 91st Annual Meeting
Columbus, Ohio | June 2023

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) convened in Columbus, Ohio in early June 2023 for our 91st Annual Meeting. The Energy Standing Committee met on June 2, 2023 to consider seven proposed resolutions. All seven resolutions were reviewed and approved by the Committee and submitted to USCM on June 5, 2023 when they were adopted by the membership.

The new policy resolutions represent a bipartisan consensus of local elected officials — mayors — on energy policies and programs; and who continue to act locally to change the national energy landscape. The new policies support existing clean energy and climate change policies of USCM and urge both Congress and the Administration to accelerate the clean energy transition in a variety of ways. Most notably, mayors play a pivotal role in implementing national and local clean energy goals in their communities and often rely on a combination of police powers and public trust to appeal for voluntary public cooperation among the population, businesses, and industry. USCM has consistently urged Congress to provide federal resource incentives to support local strategies aimed at clean energy goals, and Congress has delivered the opportunity via the Inflation Reduction Act and other recent legislation. The 2023 additions to USCM energy are due to the bipartisan Congressional support that provided federal resources directly to local governments. USCM membership looks forward to using those resources to achieve energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable electricity and storage capabilities in their communities.

USCM supports the transition to a clean energy future and encourages cities to enable clean energy development guided by local policies, programs and best practices.

In Support of Multiyear Reauthorization and Robust Annual Funding of the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG)

USCM has renewed the call to Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the EECBG program every year since 2009. The grant program was first authorized in 2007 by Congress, and first funded in 2009. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated that the $2.8 billion allocated directly to cities according to population-based formula funding in 2009 resulted in a $1.75 return for every federal dollar allotted to cities. The grant program localizes federal resources to accomplish the clean energy transition at the municipal level, and the grants were spent in the areas designated by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA): to conserve energy and achieve energy efficiency in the buildings, transportation, and energy generation sectors.

The 2023 resolution urges Congress to enact a multiyear reauthorization of EECBG, and expresses gratitude to Representatives Stanton, Fitzpatrick, Veasey, and Van Drew for introducing HR 1520. The bill would support robust annual funding of $3.5 billion annually for EECBG, beginning in FY 2024.

In Support of Funding for Department of Energy Hydroelectric Infrastructure Modernization and Improvement Programs

USCM has supported the inclusion of hydroelectric generation for more than two decades. In 2001, hydroelectric was envisioned by USCM as a part of the answer to stabilize western power markets and rate stabilization for energy consumers. In 2002, USCM called for hydroelectric generation to be included in a national renewable energy portfolio standard. In 2017, and again in 2018, USCM called for 100% renewable energy generation and specifically excluded large-scale future hydroelectric development.

In 2023, USCM expressed gratitude to Congress for providing an infusion of funding for hydroelectric modernization and improvement programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, (IIJA); and gratitude to the Administration for implementing the IIJA. USCM urges Congress to continue funding these programs annually in order to ensure the continued modernization and improvement of the nation’s existing hydroelectric generating infrastructure.

Resolution Supporting Efficient Siting and Permitting to Ensure Electric Grid Reliability for a Clean Energy Future

USCM has supported efficient siting and permitting of clean energy sources in Opportunity Zones (2019 and 2020): to support the expedited development of offshore wind production (2022); to promote electrification of the national transportation system (2022); and, to accelerate the clean energy transition with automated permitting for solar energy projects (2022).

The 2023 resolution states that USCM offers to work with policymakers and Congress to develop policies that facilitate an efficient permitting process to accelerate the deployment of critical electric infrastructure to achieve a clean energy goal.

Supporting Federal Action to Address Electric Distribution Transformer Supply Chain Challenges -and- Supporting Federal Actions to Address the Transformer Crisis

USCM recognizes the current economy-wide supply chain disruption and the difficulty cities are experiencing in attempts to procure basic energy equipment. The shortage in electrical distribution transformers is particularly acute at this time and has precluded the addition of a significant amount of renewable electricity that cannot get into the grid — or be used effectively at the local level for lack of modern distribution transformers.

USCM in 2023 urges Congress to provide additional funding and flexibility to ensure transformer availability and allow DOE to use DPA authority to address the supply shortage. The Conference urges DOE to prioritize use of the Section 30001 IRA funding to support domestic production of transformers.

In Support of Bringing an End to Fires Involving Lithium-Ion Batteries

USCM urges Congress to pass the Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries Act (H.R. 1797/S. 1008) and require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to promulgate safety standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in micromobility devices.

The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration to support educational programming in partnership with relevant federal and local stakeholders and to provide funding and policy support to these efforts.

Require that the U.S. Department of Energy Focus on the Safe Treatment and Storage of Radioactive Waste On-Site, Where Appropriate, to Mitigate Health and Environmental Risks of Transporting Low, High and Mixed Level Waste to Offsite Disposal Facilities

USCM raised concerns about the safe transportation of radioactive waste at the 64th Annual Meeting in 1996. That policy called for a total revamp of safety and emergency measures for radioactive waste transport due to the potential threat it poses as the waste is transported through cities if there is an accidental exposure. The policy was added to, annually, from 2012 through 2022 by calling for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to seek nuclear energy radioactive waste to be stored where it is generated; and, if transported, DOE should share transportation routes and schedules with local officials for safety reasons.

The 2023 resolution added, for the first time, support for DOE to move towards a consent-based approach to selecting sites for disposal of nuclear waste. Additionally, USCM continues to request DOE share transportation safety information on radioactive waste shipments.