President Signs $787 Billion Stimulus Bill Into Law

Last Tuesday, President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. The Act is separated into two divisions: Division A (appropriations) and Division B (tax, unemployment, health, state fiscal relief and other provisions). This week, this newsletter will highlight various appropriations provisions; next week this newsletter will discuss the tax and other relief offerings.

Division A is divided into 16 sub-parts, appropriating funds in areas that range from Agriculture to Energy. Given the nature of this newsletter, we will focus on appropriations related to environment, energy and sustainability. Given the vast impact of this 1900 page Act, please contact SGR to discuss how the Stimulus Package could affect you and your business.

Title I addresses Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and includes appropriations for watershed and flood prevention and watershed rehabilitation programs.

Title IV covers Energy and Water Development. Examples include $16.8 billion to the Department of Energy for energy programs, including $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program; $6 billion to guarantee loans for renewable energy or electricity transmission projects through the Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program; and $6.3 billion in grants to cities, counties and states to increase energy efficiency, but only if the governor of the recipient state notifies the Secretary of Energy that the state will adopt certain measures, such as adopting a general policy that ensures utility financial incentives are aligned with helping customers use energy more efficiently.

Title V includes $4.5 billion to convert General Services Administration facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings, and $300 million for acquiring motor vehicles with higher fuel economy, such as hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and commercially-available plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Title VII includes $125 million for the Department of the Interior for activities including maintenance, rehabilitation and restoration of facilities, property, trails and lands and for remediation of abandoned mines and wells. Approximately $115 million is earmarked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for construction, reconstruction, and repair of roads, bridges, property and facilities and for energy efficient retrofits to existing buildings.

Additional appropriations include $250 million the Department of Housing and Urban Development for grants or loans for energy retrofit and green investments in federally-assisted housing. Another $53.6 billion is allocated to the Department of Education for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to be administered by the Department of Education. The Act states that the funds may be used by an educational agency for certain activities, including “modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities, including those that are consistent with a recognized green building rating system.” The law also includes billions of dollars for modernization of Department of Defense facilities (including improving energy efficiency and sustainability), transportation (including mass transit, highways and high speed rail), environmental cleanup of Superfund and former energy and weapons facilities, water infrastructure, and waste disposal facilities.

Many more appropriations are contained within the Economic Stimulus package. Please get in touch with your SGR contact, or any member of the Sustainability Practice Group, if you have specific questions to your company or industry.

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