FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — May 7, 2009
Olympia, WA — Gov. Christine Gregoire has signed a strategic energy efficiency bill into law. Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Kitsap County, prime sponsored Senate Bill 5649 to create living-wage jobs and reduce energy consumption by retrofitting an estimated 20,000 homes and other buildings across the state.
There is a growing movement — nationally by President Obama and non-profit organizations such as Green for All, and locally by groups like the Sound and Spokane Alliances — to expand energy efficiency and reduce global warming while creating jobs.
This accelerated weatherization effort will reduce heating bills and provide thousands of living-wage jobs for skilled workers, apprentices, veterans and disadvantaged populations — an approach that fights both poverty and pollution.
Gregoire and Rockefeller were joined by more than 700 other attendees at the Washington State Energy Summit on Monday to continue moving the energy efficiency and funding discussion forward.
“Through these efforts we can shift to a clean, green economy,” said Rockefeller. “Such a shift can create and expand entrepreneurial, wealth-building opportunities for workers of all skill levels. These jobs can range from creators of energy efficient products, to retrofit audit inspectors, to weatherization construction workers.”
SB 5649 directs Washington State University (WSU) to provide grants and technical assistance to weatherization pilot projects throughout the state. It also directs WSU to assess opportunities to increase energy efficiency in the agricultural sector.
Washington state anticipates $60 million in federal weatherization funding that will be used specifically for low income weatherization projects. WSU expects to receive an additional $15 million in federal funding through the state energy program that will be used for community based energy efficiency projects. An additional $5 million in federal funding will be used to stimulate private investment in weatherization through local banks and credit unions.
“There is a job for all in the energy efficiency movement,” said Rockefeller. “Together we can make the societal shift towards energy independence.”
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For more information: Alison Dempsey-Hall, 360-786-7887
For interviews: Sen. Phil Rockefeller, 360-786-7644