Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today announced her bipartisan amendment to allow homeowners, public utilities, and communities affected by natural disasters to make energy efficient upgrades with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds passed the Senate. Senator Gillibrand’s amendment, which was co-authored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), passed as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
“This legislation would help millions of Americans, including New Yorkers whose homes are damaged by natural disasters, upgrade to new, energy-efficient equipment when they rebuild,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These upgrades are a smart investment that would conserve energy, reduce emissions, and save consumers money over the long term. Now that the Senate has passed this bill, I urge my colleagues in the House to send it to the President’s desk as quickly as possible.”
Under current law, FEMA disaster assistance may only be used to replace damaged property with structures or equipment that are similar to the property that was destroyed. Rather than utilizing FEMA assistance to repair or replace damaged property with more modern, energy efficient models, disaster assistance recipients must opt instead for more antiquated, less efficient versions. Senator Gillibrand’s amendment changes the current law to allow FEMA disaster assistance recipients the option to use federal funds to replace damaged products or structures with more energy efficient models.
Senator Gillibrand’s provision is budget-neutral and does not require any additional federal spending. The Energy Policy Modernization Act will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.