Metropolitan Washington City and County Leaders Call on President-elect Obama and Congress to Invest Green Economic Recovery Dollars in Local Climate Action

Initiatives Provide Opportunity for Green Jobs, Energy Independence, Emissions Reductions

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Elected local officials from across the Metropolitan Washington region gathered today at the National Press Club to showcase the region’s successes on energy and climate solutions and called on President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress to invest stimulus dollars in local climate action as a quick and effective way to create new green jobs, revitalize the economy and promote energy independence.

Increasingly, economists are promoting green jobs as key to the country’s economic recovery and long-term growth. Local governments in the Metropolitan Washington region have the ability to launch innovative clean energy and smart transportation projects that are ready-to-go and could quickly create green jobs in their communities. Examples of local green projects that could be implemented in the next 12 months if federal funds are made available include:

  • Alexandria, VA has a goal of achieving LEED Gold certification at its new police facility, with a target of reducing energy consumption by 22 percent, and plans to meet LEED Silver standards at a fire station. With federal support, Alexandria could reduce carbon emissions at both facilities by more than 500 metric tons annually, while creating construction and permanent jobs.
  • Arlington County, VA would install medium- and large-scale rooftop solar photovoltaics on multiple County facilities. This project would reduce the County’s energy usage by between 250,000 – 500,000 kWh/year and could result in an annual energy savings for the County of $18,000-$45,000/year. The greenhouse gas reductions resulting from this project would be substantial, as every kilowatt hour of electricity from a clean source such as solar saves 1.5 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Grid-tied photovoltaic systems like these also improve the reliability of the electric grid.
  • Fairfax County, VA would support efforts to expedite extension of Metrorail service to the Dulles airport, which would create many construction jobs and reduce vehicle miles traveled in the region.
  • Loudoun County, VA is poised to build a geothermal fire station that will incorporate many renewable energy design features estimated to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent annually. The fire station project would create construction as well as full-time jobs.
  • Montgomery County, MD would launch a Home Retrofit Revolving Fund to provide lending for residential energy retrofits. A $35 million annual investment in the program would result in $47 million in energy savings benefits to consumers, while increasing home values and producing green jobs. In addition, a 30 percent participation rate has the potential to reduce nearly 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
  • Prince George’s County, MD would replace pedestrian street signals with LED alternatives that save energy and money.
  • Rockville, MD would install alternative energy (solar) generation systems at City Hall, the City Maintenance Facility, several Recreation Centers and the Rockville Nature Center, thereby reducing energy use and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

City and county leaders from Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Rockville and Washington, DC and more than 370 other local elected officials nationwide joined with Climate Communities and ICLEI USA this week to endorse Empowering Local Government Climate Action: Blueprint for the New President and 111th Congress. Download the Blueprint at http://www.climatecommunities.us/endorseblueprint.html or http://www.icleiusa.org/blueprint.

Regional leaders provided the following statements:

Andrea McGimsey, Loudoun County Supervisor: “We were pleased that during his campaign, President-elect Obama indicated support for investment in energy saving projects to help create jobs and spur economic recovery. We want President-elect Obama and Congress to know that with federal assistance we are ready to put hundreds of Metropolitan Washington citizens to work in jobs that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Councilmember: “Supporting local government action should be a top priority as Washington develops new economic stimulus, climate and energy policies. Local governments set and enforce building codes, we determine transportation and land use policies and we are dramatically affected when our communities suffer untold human and economic loss from floods, wildfires, water shortages and other climate events.”

Del Pepper, Alexandria Vice Mayor: “More than 40 percent of energy consumption and carbon emissions come from residential and commercial buildings and one-third is generated by the transportation sector. Our actions in the DC metro area and by local governments across the country have the potential to dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as create jobs.”

Rob Krupicka, Alexandria Councilmember: “Federal support for local climate actions is smart and provides a strong return on investment (energy and cost savings, jobs, etc). As Congress prepares economic recovery legislation, cities and counties should be viewed as an essential partner.”

Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Member: “Local governments have laid the foundation for this country’s response to global warming, providing the leadership, solutions and innovation that have helped curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy use and costs, and put people to work in green jobs.”

Dan Tangherlini, Washington, DC City Administrator: “We are pleased to join Climate Communities and ICLEI USA as they organize city and county leaders from across America to make sure that federal decision makers understand the essential role of local governments in reducing energy use and addressing climate change. We look forward to working with President-elect Obama and Congress to ensure that federal policies empower local communities with the tools and resources we need to get the job done.”

Currently there are no federal programs to support local climate and energy initiatives. The Local Government Climate Action Blueprint calls for stimulus legislation to include $10 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and $18 billion for public transit and green vehicles infrastructure. The Blueprint outlines many other opportunities for the federal government to invest in local government innovation, including:

  • Enactment of a national greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program with a portion of the estimated $150 billion carbon trading revenues invested in local government climate action and green jobs initiatives;
  • Investment in public transit, green vehicles and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction through reauthorization of $400 billion federal transportation legislation; and
  • $250 million for EPA Local Climate Demonstration Grants that empower local governments to continue creating new solutions to the climate challenge.

Today’s event was part of “Local Climate Action Week,” when dozens of city and county officials are showcasing energy and climate innovations, sending the message to federal leaders that given support, local governments can and should be a critical partner in addressing climate change, achieving energy security and developing a green economy.

About Climate Communities: Climate Communities is a national coalition of cities and counties that is educating federal policymakers about the essential role of local governments in addressing climate change and promoting a strong local-federal partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, see http://www.climatecommunities.us.

About ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability: ICLEI USA provides expertise, technical support, and innovative tools to help local governments advance their emissions reductions and sustainability goals. More than 500 cities, towns and counties in the U.S. are members of ICLEI. For more information, see http://www.icleiusa.org.

[Via http://www.prnewswire.com]

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