Status Update: Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act ~ S.717


U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (S. 717). The Act will establish a new pilot program at the U.S. Department of Energy to provide financial grants to non-profit organizations to help make buildings they own and operate more energy efficient.

On Wednesday, May 8th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reviewed related legislation—the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 761)—introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), which promotes energy efficiency in homes and buildings. While S.717 was not integrated into S.761 during the committee meeting, Sen. Hoeven spoke about S. 717 and received support from Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) as well as from Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Sen. Hoeven stated that “[there is] a tremendous coalition of religious and secular non-profit organizations that support the legislation. It furthers the underlying efforts of this bill to promote energy efficiency and do it with good conservation practices.” Sen. Coons stressed the need to find an appropriate way to partner with “struggling nonprofit entities that don’t have the capital” and “help them invest and to capture the benefits of energy efficiency.” Chairman Wyden noted his appreciation for the senators’ effort to “come up with some fresh ideas” and expressed his interest in working on the bill.

If enacted and appropriated, grants of up to $200,000 (with a 50 percent match) would be available to enable schools, youth centers, houses of worship, hospitals and other nonprofit facilities to undertake energy efficiency improvements.

The Orthodox Union is working with its congressional allies and spearheading a broad coalition of support to encourage the passage of this bill. The coalition currently includes the Jewish Federations of North America as well as the YMCA Association, the National Council of Churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Sojourners.

We are asking our lay leaders and constituents to reach out to their senators to sign onto the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act as co-sponsors, in order to increase support for this bill in the Senate.