Senate panel passes energy efficiency bill championed by Orthodox Union

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed a bill developed in part by the Orthodox Union that will help synagogues and other nonprofit buildings lower their energy costs.

The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, which was co-sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and passed by the committee on Friday, will create a federal grants program to support houses of worship, schools, youth centers and other nonprofits that make their buildings more energy efficient, according to a news release issued by the Orthodox Union.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the approximately 370,000 houses of worship in the U.S. pay $3 billion in annual energy costs.

The Orthodox Union, which claims to be the largest Orthodox umbrella organization in the U.S., led a coalition of groups, which included the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National YMCA Association and the Jewish Federations of North America, to push the bill through the Senate.

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“The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act will deliver important support for America’s nonprofits, help them reduce their energy costs and better serve our communities,” Nathan Diament, the O.U.’s executive director for public policy said in a statement.

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