Bipartisan bill includes Klobuchar’s provisions to help nonprofits save money on energy efficiency upgrades, to increase research on energy storage, and to extend the North Country Scenic Trail 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that several of her key priorities passed the Senate today as a part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. The bipartisan bill includes Klobuchar’s provisions to help nonprofits save money on energy efficiency upgrades, to increase energy storage research, and to extend the North Country Scenic Trail.

“We must do more not only to seek energy efficient solutions, but also to encourage others to make energy efficient choices,” said Klobuchar. “I am pleased that after a lot of hard work, my bipartisan provision to ensure that nonprofits and places of worship will receive the same opportunity as other organizations to make energy efficiency upgrades has moved forward. We also made important progress on increasing research on energy storage. This bipartisan vote in the Senate brings us one step closer to ensuring that our energy future will be secure.”

Klobuchar successfully included the following provisions in the bipartisan energy bill agreement:

  • Energy Assistance for Nonprofits: Klobuchar’s provision will create a grant program that will help nonprofits – including places of worship, faith-based organizations, and youth centers -- afford the materials needed to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and generate renewable energy. Since nonprofits are tax-exempt entities, they cannot currently benefit from many energy support programs because the programs are often structured in the form of tax credits. Klobuchar’s provision would provide $10 million each year for the next five years to create a pilot grant program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to support nonprofits in purchasing materials for energy efficiency projects. The grants would promote energy efficiency by supporting the purchase of materials for upgrades to existing infrastructure as well as renewable energy generators and heaters. Nonprofits could apply for grants up to $200,000. This provision is based on Klobuchar’s Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, which is supported by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, the National Council of Churches, the YMCA of the USA, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, among other organizations.
  • Energy Research: Large-capacity water heaters are an important energy storage system. They help families save money by being energy-efficient, which also makes them good for the environment. Klobuchar’s provision ensures grid-enabled large-capacity water heaters are included in research on energy storage. In 2015, the President signed into law a provision that Klobuchar introduced with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) that enables rural electric power cooperatives and their members to continue using large, energy-efficient water heaters in “demand response” conservation programs.  
  • North Country Scenic Trail: The North Country National Scenic Trail is the nation’s longest hiking trail, currently running 4,600 miles from New York to North Dakota and passing through 12 national forests. The trail was created by Congress in 1980 and has been largely built by volunteers. Klobuchar’s provision is based on her North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act that would revise the authorized trail route by including existing hiking trails in the Minnesota Arrowhead region of the Boundary Waters and North Shore of Lake Superior. It would also extend the trail into Vermont in order to connect it to the Appalachian Trail, which would allow hikers to journey the entire 4,600 miles from North Dakota to Vermont.

The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 also includes a bipartisan agreement to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF supports the protection of federal public lands and waters – including national parks and wildlife refuges – and voluntary conservation on private land.