Obama budget excludes Energy Efficiency Block Grant
President Obama’s 2010–2011 budget does not include funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program that would finance local governments’ climate protection initiatives, according to an analysis from the Washington-based National Association of Counties (NACo). However, the president’s budget is proposing increases to various other programs of interest to counties, according to NACo.
The Obama administration unveiled its proposed $3.8 trillion fiscal year 2011 budget on Feb. 1. The budget included a proposed three-year freeze on overall domestic discretionary spending, a freeze that would include the Department of Energy (DOE) EECBG program. “The EECBG program was first funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) at $3.2 billion,” NACo says in its analysis. “This program is a vitally needed first step to help local governments reduce greenhouse gases and energy consumption.”
The geothermal revenue sharing program with county governments also would be eliminated in Obama’s budget, and the Essential Air Service Program would receive a substantial cut. However, the budget provides $28.4 billion for the DOE to support scientific innovation, develop clean and secure energy technologies, maintain national security, and reduce environmental risk, an overall increase from the $26.4 billion DOE received in fiscal year 2010 (FY10). DOE’s Weatherization program received the largest increase over FY10, with $385 million in funding as opposed to FY10’s $210 million. Wind power was another winner with a request of $123 million as opposed to $80 million from last year.
Several other NACo priorities would receive increased funding from Obama’s budget, including an extension of the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid and Foster Care IV-payments through December 2010, which would provide more than $25 billion to counties and states. The administration’s proposed Rural Innovation Initiative, while it does not provide new funding, but would set aside $280 million in funding from 20 U.S. Department of Agriculture programs for locally driven projects that promote economic opportunity and job creation based on regional priorities and needs, addressing NACo’s call for Congress and the administration to renew rural development efforts. Also, the Community and Development Block Grant formula program is funded at $3.99 billion in the proposed budget, a slight increase over the FY10 $3.9 billion level.
The president’s budget still would leave a deficit of $1.3 trillion, a reduction from the current $1.6 trillion, according to NACo. Read more details from NACo on Obama’s budget.