Metropolitan King County Councilmember Larry Phillips recently joined representatives of Climate Communities in pressing the case to President Obama and Congress for local climate funds to be included in the federal stimulus package.
The result of that effort is $3.2 billion in energy grants nationwide that will make it possible for King County and other cities and counties to invest in local actions that create immediate jobs, improve energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Securing federal support for empowering local climate action has been the goal of a coalition of local officials who have joined together in an organization called Climate Communities, of which Phillips is a founding member and national co-chair.
"These hard economic times bring an opportunity to invest in a greener way of life that will bring new jobs to our economy and preserve our environment for future generations," said Phillips. "With these grant funds, King County can show that we are a responsible and innovative partner with the federal government and can lead the way in finding climate solutions."
Washington state will receive over $60 million for local energy priorities, including the expansion of emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and $60.7 million to help weatherize homes and businesses throughout the state. Additionally, King County will receive a share of $3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation block grants that will be divided up by formula, as well as other clean energy funds.
King County's clean energy priorities include improvements to King County's wastewater treatment system, reclaimed water projects, a waste-to-energy project at the West Point wastewater treatment plant, energy efficiency retrofits of King County facilities, and a zero-energy affordable housing demonstration at Issaquah Highlands.
"Demonstrating the viability of green technologies like reclaimed water, waste-to-energy plants, and zero energy housing in King County will be key to helping innovative climate solutions become mainstream," said Phillips.
The stimulus bill signed by President Obama earlier this week includes $3.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program; $2.8 billion to be distributed by formula to eligible cities (35,000 or greater in population) and counties (200,000 or greater in population, and $400 million in competitive grants through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This funding will help local governments implement strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions and reduce total energy use.
The economic recovery legislation also includes:
* $5 billion for DOE weatherization assistance;
* $3.1 billion for the DOE State Energy Program;
* $300 million for DOE Clean Cities grants to promote more efficient vehicles;
* $400 million for DOE grants for electric vehicles and other transportation electrification projects;
* $300 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants to reduce diesel emissions; and
* $750 million in Department of Labor job training grants, including $500 million for green jobs.