July 22, 2010

Gillibrand, Mcmahon Announce Key Senate Panel Approves $200,000 For Staten Island Jewish Community Center

Federal Dollars Will Be Used For New Solar Electric System To Green the Local Community

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Representative Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) announced today that the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee approved the FY11 Appropriations Bill, which includes $200,000 for the installation of a solar electric system at the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Staten Island. Funding will be used to green the organization and local community, promote clean energy, and reduce harmful toxins in the air. Senator Gillibrand and Representative McMahon worked closely with members of the Appropriations Committee to include funding for the project in this year’s spending bill.

 “This federal investment will provide Staten Island’s JCC with solar panels that will help cut emissions, improve our environment, and lower energy bills. By making smart, green investments, we can create quality jobs and reduce the pollution that poisons the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Senator Gillibrand.

“I was so pleased to have worked with Senator Gillibrand to secure these funds for the Staten Island Jewish Community Center. The installation of solar panels will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and promote renewable energy, ultimately improving air quality and public health in our borough. The funds will also reduce operating costs at the JCC allowing them to further expand their already robust programs offered to all Staten Islanders.  This funding is a win-win for the JCC and all of Staten Island,” said Congressman McMahon.

“The JCC as an agency, led by President of the Board of Directors, Meirav Lev-Ari has set an agenda in which we view ourselves as an agency as stewards of the earth. We are committed to community outreach to help further these goals. That Senator Gillibrand and Representative McMahon recognize the value of this work is immensely gratifying. This is great news for the JCC, Staten Island and beyond. The JCC hopes to serve as an example to the rest of Staten Island in showing that the way forward is to reduce carbon emissions and implement renewable energy projects. Cleaner air and reduced energy costs will make Staten Island a better place to live. We hope to be an inspiration to other organizations and businesses.” said David Sorkin, Executive Director of the JCC.

Federal funding for the approximately 300 new solar electric panels at the Jewish Community Center will make the organization one of the first large-scale solar energy installations in the area, greatly benefiting the environment. The project will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 600 tons, sulfur dioxide emissions by 3,500 pounds, and nitrous oxide by 2,200 pounds.

JCC has taken on several green initiatives this past year, requesting an energy audit from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, installing motion-detecting light sensors, launching eco-friendly programs, and changing its cleaning products to safe chemicals produced by local business.

The bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations Committee, which passed the bill this afternoon. The bill will head to the floor for a full vote before the Senate and then move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.