All the many supporters of PACE energy efficiency and renewable energy financing program have a reason to cheer. Thanks to a legal decision, the public will finally have a chance to weigh in with the federal government to express their support for reviving these important job-creating clean energy initiatives. My colleague Alisa Valderrama provides the details here.
For those interested in the legal battles, as I described in a previous post, last August a California federal district court judge issued an important ruling in the ongoing effort to revive PACE energy efficiency and renewable energy financing programs.
These promising programs were adopted in over twenty states and a number of counties and towns were moving forward with them, in order to create jobs, help homeowners reduce their energy bills, save energy and reduce power plant pollution.
But in 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and another federal agency issued directives that froze these programs from moving forward and stopped the development of new ones. The State of California, two California counties (Sonoma and Placer Counties), the City of Palm Desert and the Sierra Club challenged these backdoor rollbacks in federal district court. Similar challenges were filed by Leon County in Florida, and by the Town of Babylon on Long Island and NRDC in New York. (The other challenges have been dismissed on legal grounds and are currently on appeal).
In the August ruling, the district court judge in the California cases ordered FHFA to conduct a public notice and comment rulemaking on its PACE directives. This will allow the public, for the first time, to weigh in on the many job creation, energy savings and environmental benefits of PACE programs, and why the FHFA’s hasty actions to halt PACE efficiency programs should be swiftly reversed. FHFA has appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, out on the West Coast. That court hasn’t yet decided the appeal, but in the mean time has directed FHFA to start the public notice and comment process on PACE. I’ll keep you posted on any further developments in this long legal battle.
As a result of the California federal district court’s order, today’s Federal Register includes an advance notice of proposed rulemaking by FHFA on PACE. The public has 6o days, until March 26th, to provide their views on PACE. FHFA’s notice poses a number of questions and asks for information on many different aspects of PACE. Alisa’s blog tells how to get involved and have your voice heard.