WASHINGTON, DC – July 22, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Today Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) and a bipartisan group of her colleagues introduced the PACE Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 2599) to promote energy efficient upgrades to homes. This bill would prevent federal regulators from adopting policies that disregard established state and local Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) laws. The PACE program is designed to allow homeowners an opportunity to lower their utility bills by making energy efficiency improvements to their homes, which would in turn help clean energy businesses sell more of their energy efficient products, expand green manufacturing operations, and create jobs.
“I’m pleased to be an original cosponsor of the PACE Protection Act,” said Congresswoman Capps. “It’s critical that we use all the tools we can to support energy efficiency programs for homeowners that will save them money on energy bills, increase the value of their homes and reduce overall energy use. These programs will also help Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties promote new, high-paying jobs in the clean energy economy. For over a year I’ve worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to restore the PACE program and I’m committed to getting this straightforward legislation enacted to further our goal of becoming a national leader in the clean energy economy.”
On July 6th, 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a statement indicating that the agency was going to shut down all PACE programs. That statement halted any action on the well thought out, planned for emPowerSBC in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County’s program, which is operated by CaliforniaFIRST. The PACE Protection Act of 2011 would end this uncertainty by preventing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other federal residential and commercial mortgage lending regulators from adopting policies that contravene established PACE laws on the local and state levels.
“I commend Congresswoman Capps’ leadership and her colleagues for joining together in a bipartisan approach to address the long standing impediment hindering progress of PACE programs throughout the Country. For Santa Barbara, this means moving forward with an extraordinary program that creates much needed local jobs and promotes voluntary energy efficiency via retrofits, which will have a positive impact on our environment and help move us one step closer to lessening our dependence on fossil fuels. If fully implemented, Santa Barbara County’s emPowerSBC program could serve almost 4,400 homes in the County while creating 1,800 jobs,” said Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal.
“We thank Congresswoman Capps for her leadership in protecting and strengthening the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. PACE harnesses free market forces by allowing commercial and residential property owners to finance energy efficiency retrofits and installations of small renewable energy systems here in our County. PACE makes it possible for low- and moderate-income property owners to afford these important enhancements. Rep. Capps’s efforts will help make our country more energy efficient and less dependent on petroleum-based energy – both foreign and domestic,” said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill.
Capps has been working to resolve the impasse between state and local governments and FHFA and allow these innovative programs to move forward and create local jobs. In the 111th Congress, she worked on legislation with Congressman Mike Thompson, H.R. 5766, to override FHFA’s ruling that is preventing PACE programs from moving forward. Last year, she also sent a letter to President Obama last year urging him to use his authority to resolve the impasse with FHFA.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Representatives Mike Thompson (CA-1), Dan Lungren (CA-3), Nan Hayworth (NY-9), Congresswoman Capps, and a number of their colleagues in Congress.