Shea-Porter and Hodes Pass Amendment to Green School Construction Bill

Provision Encourages Use of New Technologies to Save Energy

Washington , DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter today introduced an amendment to legislation which would authorize funding for the building of “green schools.” Congressman Paul Hodes co-sponsored the amendment, which would specify that funds authorized in the bill could be used to invest in geothermal, photovoltaic, solar, wind, biomass, and wood pellet technologies. The New Hampshire Representatives were joined by their colleagues Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) and Congressman Michael Arcuri (D-NY).

The amendment passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 409 to 5. The entire bill, the 21st Century Green-High Performing Public Schools Facilities Act (H.R. 3021), passed with wide, bipartisan support (250 to 164).

“This amendment and this bill are practical steps forward toward our long-term goal of achieving energy independence,” said Shea-Porter. “Building green schools is an investment that will pay dividends in the future -- reducing energy costs, decreasing carbon emissions, and giving us more control over our energy future. I am proud to work with my Northeast colleagues on this legislation."

“Green is the new red, white and blue,” stated Congressman Hodes. “To create a 21st Century Energy Policy, we must collectively make changes to how we power our buildings in the both the private and public sector. This amendment will help our schools become part of the 21st Century Solution and give our school districts more resource to invest in our children’s education.”

The 21st Century Green-High Performing Public Schools Facilities Act authorizes funds for a green school construction program for a period of five years. The funding may be used for renovation or repair projects which increase energy efficiency. The bill allocates $6.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2009, and mandates that the funds be distributed quickly in order to achieve maximum benefit.

By upgrading school facililties, the legislation would also improve learning environments for America’s schoolchildren. Green building projects would also provide jobs in the construction industry, which has struggle in the current economic climate. Because these jobs would be funded by the federal government, they fall under the Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates that workers be at levels no lower than prevailing wages in the industry in that region.

Click here for the text of the 21st Century Green-High Performing Public Schools Facilities Act.