Congresswoman Matsui Responds to Continued Uncertainty Displayed by Federal Housing Finance Agency on Implementation of Energy Efficiency Programs


Sends Letter Today Voicing Severe Concerns, Disapproval of FHFA’s Stalling of Programs Proven to Create Jobs

SACRAMENTO, CA – September 1, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05) issued a letter in response to the most recent display of uncertainty by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in their handling of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program – a program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which could have provided thousands of good American jobs and helped meet our nation’s energy efficiency goals – if properly enacted.

Congresswoman Matsui’s most recent letter, sent today, was addressed to Mr. Edward DeMarco, the Acting Director of FHFA, in response to the letter FHFA issued Friday and their follow-up announcement made today regarding the future of the PACE programs.  According to Mr. DeMarco, FHFA will not implement any assessments made after July 6, 2010.  That means that only about 1,000 PACE mortgages in the nation will be backed by FHFA; and the very real opportunities for communities, utilities and homeowners to benefit from the promise that the PACE programs is still a step away from being actualized.

On July 6th, FHFA issued a statement indicating that they were going to shut down all PACE programs.  That has created a myriad of problems for local municipalities and governments throughout the country, including the Congresswoman’s hometown of Sacramento, California.  Like many communities, PACE programs had been well thought out, planned for, but were not yet implemented before being halted by the FHFA announcements.  Under FHFA’s most recent guidance, these governments are now uncertain whether the backing of the Federal government – through FHFA – will be there as they start to implement these programs.

Despite receiving strong support from Congress, the White House, and State and local governments, FHFA has refused to implement the PACE program at its intended levels.  Congresswoman Matsui has sent several letters to the White House and the FHFA, co-sponsored legislation to reinstate the program, and has had continued conversations with stakeholders at every level to try to work together to convince FHFA to make good on its promises to American homeowners.

“As a Member of Congress who has been heavily involved in the stakeholder meetings to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the PACE program, I strongly believe your actions are not warranted at this time, as negotiations are still ongoing,” Matsui wrote.  “I strongly urge FHFA to immediately reengage in good faith negotiations with the Administration, Congress and relevant federal regulators to restore PACE financing programs in a timely manner.”

The PACE program has been designed to allow homeowners an opportunity to make energy efficient improvement to their homes, which would in turn help clean energy businesses sell more of their energy efficiency products, expand their manufacturing operations and hire new workers.  If enacted as designed, homeowners would see the economic benefit of reduced utility bills and added equity to their homes.  Participating communities across the country would have seen an increase in new, high-paying jobs in the clean energy economy.  However, FHFA has continually halted the programs’ ability to be enacted by voicing uncertainty around the program.  As a result, businesses and homeowners have been put on hold, and America is losing an opportunity to create several thousand jobs in the clean energy sector.

“Federal agencies should be working to support and implement PACE financing, not looking for ways to stop it,” added Congresswoman Matsui.  “I and many of my colleagues do not accept that this as the final word.  We will continue to explore all options to restore the PACE financing program.  It has been clearly shown that the PACE program can create jobs while helping homeowners and businesses become more energy efficient.”

A copy of the letter sent today by Congresswoman Matsui can be found by clicking HERE.

A copy of the letter sent in June by Congresswoman Matsui and 59 other Members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, can be found by clicking HERE.

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