Washington - Today, on the eve of Earth Day, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) hailed the Obama administration's announcement of the 25 recipients of $452 million in competitive grants through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) program. Menendez created the program, along with Senator Bernie Sanders, through 2007 legislation. Cities and states across the country were selected to receive funding as part of the EECBG's competitive grant program (list below), from which communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profit organizations will work together on pioneering programs to retrofit neighborhoods and towns - and eventually entire states.

"Investments in making our communities more energy efficient help cut energy costs, protect the air we breathe and save local taxpayers money for years to come," said Menendez. "This is the type of investment that rebuilds our communities for the 21st Century helps create jobs in the short term and greater economic security in the long term. I am proud to have created the program with Senator Sanders that made these opportunities available, and I am thrilled that these selected communities had the foresight to understand the importance of an energy-efficient community and to develop the plans that helped them win these awards."

Menendez and Sanders created the Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) program in the 2007 Energy Bill and fought to fund it in the Recovery Act. It provides municipalities and counties with the resources to support energy-saving initiatives and improve energy efficiency in transportation, buildings, and other sectors. In total, the Recovery Act provided $3.2 billion to communities across the country for energy efficiency and conservation activities.

The following governments and non-profit organizations have been selected for EECBG competitive grant program awards. These projects are planned to begin in fall 2010. Final award amounts are subject to negotiation:

Austin, Texas - $10 million
Boulder County, Colorado - $25 million
Camden, New Jersey - $5 million
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning - $25 million
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Ohio - $17 million
Greensboro, North Carolina - $5 million
Indianapolis, Indiana - $10 million
Kansas City, Missouri - $20 million
Los Angeles County, California - $30 million
Lowell, Massachusetts - $5 million
State of Maine - $30 million
State of Maryland - $20 million
State of Michigan - $30 million
State of Missouri - $5 million
Omaha, Nebraska - $10 million
State of New Hampshire - $10 million
New York State Research and Development Authority - $40 million
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - $25 million
Phoenix, Arizona - $25 million
Portland, Oregon - $20 million
San Antonio, Texas - $10 million
Seattle, Washington - $20 million
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance - $20 million
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Ohio - $15 million
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation - $20 million

For more information on the selected projects, visit HERE. A map of the selected projects is available HERE.

Retrofit By the Numbers

• Residential and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of the energy and represent 40 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States. Building efficiency represents one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions and save money on energy bills while creating new jobs:

• Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually.

• Residential and commercial retrofits also have the potential to cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.