A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Legislative Update

A few of you have requested that we provide more frequent updates on the Appropriations process so you can stay abreast of the most recent events.

To that end we will try to give updates every two weeks or more frequently as mark ups and votes take place.

As of now negotiations are still taking place within the Senate and House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittees. Yesterday, Assistant Secretary Karsner testified at the Senate hearing and was asked why WAP was zeroed out this year. His response was the same as the one he gave in the House Subcommittee hearing two weeks ago. He contends the WAP no longer belongs within the EERE portfolio. He also stated that the Program only has a 1.5 return on investment and that this pales in comparison to the return on investment of the research and development projects.

Meetings have occurred between the WAP advocates and many staff offices in both the House and Senate. The message has been consistent in each of these meetings - the WAP is cost effective, it is meeting and exceeding its public purpose, it belongs in DOE, and it deserves to have its funding restored and increased if possible. NASCSP has provided its testimony in support of the WAP to the House Subcommittee and will make its submission to the Senate within the next few days.

Mark up of the House and Senate Energy and Water bills will take soon. We expect the House mark-up to be completed by the end of April. The Senate bill should be marked up by late May or early June. Of course these are mere projections. The mark-up process is still a little confusing because of the huge fund shortages with these bills as compared to the amount being requested (at least $1 billion but as high as $6 to $7 billion if the new energy initiatives in the 2007 Energy Bill are included).

It is still too early to predict where WAP funding will finally settle. We are hoping that last year's level of $227 million can be attained.

Advocates are asking for $300 million in 2009 with the chance of reaching figures close to $500 million through stimulus packages being considered this summer. The 2009 authorization level for WAP is $900 million.

We have all heard the phrase "times are tough this year." Well here it is again. Times are tough this year. And DOE zeroing out the Program has made things more difficult because they continue to defend that position with Congressional members. As always, we will keep you informed as we learn more.

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