The Energy Policy Acts of 1992 and 2005 make the reduction of imported oil a national priority. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 established air quality as another priority. To achieve both, the market penetration of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles must be accelerated. Through 89 public-private partnerships operating in 39 states, the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities has become the federal government’s most effective program to do just that. In addition, once hydrogen vehicles become commercially available, Clean Cities will need to play a critical role in accelerating their market penetration, too. Unfortunately, the Clean Cities budget has been steadily reduced, from a high of $11.5 million to the Administration’s FY07 request of $4.4 million. With the President acknowledging our “addiction to oil” problem, Clean Cities funding should be expanded significantly.
Clean Cities funding provides support for the local coalitions as well as the development of tools and materials to make the local coalitions more effective. In addition, grants administered by the Clean Cities Program are the primary federal means to support the deployment of new alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and infrastructure. This funding is then leveraged through the participation and resources of over 4,700 state, local and private industry stakeholders in the 89 local Clean Cities coalitions. NGVAmerica members provide valuable input and technical support to Clean Cites Coalitions, and work actively with the coordinators to achieve the policy priority of reduction of imported oil.
FY07 Clean Cities Program Appropriations
The Administration requested $4.4 million in its FY2007 budget request for the Clean Cities program. Immediately following this announcement, NGVAmerica’s members met with their Congressmen and Senators and subsequently worked will all Clean Cities coordinators to try and increase that amount. A “Dear Colleague” letter addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, and signed by 26 Congressmen, requested $20 million for the clean cities program. The result of our effort was that the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee increased the funding for the Clean Cities program from the requested $4.4 million to $5.0 million. During full Committee mark-up Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) offered an amendment that increased the funding for the Clean Cities program to $10 million. The Amendment also earmarked $8.0 million of the $10 million for the development of E85 infrastructure. This action would be catastrophic, as only $2.0 million would remain for the operations of the Clean Cities program, and all the alternative fuel projects and programs that need to be deployed. Subsequently, Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH) engaged the Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, David Hobson (R-OH) in a colloquy. The Chairman offered to try to work in the upcoming conference with the Senate, and “see if we can get some more money on the program”.
An identical “Dear Colleague” letter addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, and signed by 8 Senators, also requested $20 million for the Clean Cities program. The result of the Senate effort was that the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee increased the funding for the Clean Cities program from the requested $4.4 million to $6.393 million, with an additional $3 million, to encourage the expansion of alternative fuel and vehicle technology through competitive solicitation. The full House, which has passed the Energy and Water Appropriations bill (HR 5427; H. Rpt. 109-474) for FY ’07, proposes $10 million for Clean Cities. A copy of the bill and the Committee report can be accessed here. The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill (HR 5386; Sen. Rpt. 109-274) for FY ’07, which proposes $9.4 million for Clean Cities can be accessed here. After the measure has been considered by the full Senate, it must then be reconciled with the House passed bill.