On June 26, the House approved, 219-212, the American Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). The bill was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 21. It would establish a “cap and trade” system to limit greenhouse gas emissions: entities that emit greenhouse gases above a certain limit would either have to limit their emissions or purchase an allowance from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Among the bill’s provisions is a program that would allow the secretary of Energy to make grants “to private, non-profit, mission-driven community development corporations and community development financial institutions to provide financing to businesses and projects that improve energy efficiency…the purpose of such grants is to increase the flow of capital and benefits to low-income communities, minority-owned and women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and other projects and activities located in low-income communities in order to reduce environmental degradation, foster energy conservation and efficiency, and create job and business opportunities for local residents” (Section 241, p. 241-242). The bill would authorize $50 million per year for FY2010-2015 to carry out this program.