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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan April 14, 2009

Stimulus includes energy efficiency block grants for building codes

President Barack Obama's priorities for energy were reflected in many parts of the economic stimulus bill, including its block grants for states and localities.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 sends $3.2 billion to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. Most of that will be distributed through formula grants, dispensed to states based on population. But about $455 million will be distributed competitively. States, cities, counties and tribal governments can apply for grants to fund projects that reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and that improve energy efficiency.

The program specifically names building codes and inspections to promote energy efficiency as projects that could be approved. Other such projects include development of an energy efficiency strategy, residential and commercial building energy audits and energy efficient retrofits of existing buildings.

Technically, Obama didn't "create" the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Program, which started in 2007. But the program never received any funding until the stimulus bill came along, so it seems fair to call it a new program. Promise Kept.

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