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With Emissions Legislation Sidelined, Efficiency Takes Center Stage

President Obama has promised a multi-pronged approach to a greener future, but with legislation to reduce carbon emissions now on hold, energy efficiency measures have become the focus of the administration’s environmental efforts.

Following yesterday’s revelation that cap-and-trade legislation would not be included in the fiscal year 2010 budget, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Vice President Joe Biden today rolled out a $3.2 billion program to improve efficiency at the state and local level.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program commits $1.9 billion to cities and counties and $770 million to states and territories for “energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements,” according to a White House press release. An additional $456 million will be available for local efficiency project bids at a later date.

These measures come on the heels of an even larger $8 billion weatherization program, announced exactly two weeks ago.

Energy efficiency is being enacted much more quickly than the administration’s other environmental goals, in large part because it costs comparatively little and is simpler to implement.

“The funding will be used for the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have – energy efficiency and conservation – which can be deployed immediately,” Chu explained.

A full description of the EECBG program can be found on the Department of Energy Website.

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