Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauds the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for passing the bipartisan Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (S. 520), with special appreciation to Committee Chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) for including it in their agenda.
The bill, spearheaded by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and a coalition of nonprofit groups, will establish a new pilot program that provides federal grants through the U.S. Department of Energy so that houses of worship, day schools and other nonprofits ranging from community centers to museums and hospitals can improve their buildings’ energy efficiency. Nonprofits across the country spend $200 billion annually on energy costs – about 5 to 7 percent of their yearly budgets – due to aging, antiquated infrastructure.
The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act would provide $10 million each year for the next five years for nonprofits to purchase equipment to upgrade existing infrastructure as well as renewable energy generators and heaters. The upgrades will reduce operating costs, decrease environmental impact and create jobs. Nonprofits would be eligible to apply for grants of up to $200,000 each.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) re-introduced the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act in the Senate in February; U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) re-introduced companion legislation (H.R. 3120) in the House last month.
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union:
“Our nation’s synagogues, churches and other nonprofits are in dire need of energy modernization but haven’t had the funds to do so. The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act will give a much-awaited boost to the faith community and nonprofit sector alike by enabling them to put greater funding into programs and services and spend less on their energy bills.”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“We are grateful to Sens. Hoeven and Klobuchar for re-introducing this important legislation in the Senate, and we look forward to its swift passage by Congress.”