WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressmen has requested $2 million in appropriations for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program in the 2013 federal budget.
The 44 signatories to the effort included 34 congressmen and 10 senators, the highest number since the program was created in 2008.
The appropriations request was led by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), along with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The cooperative program between the two countries includes programs such as solar thermal plant designs and smart grid systems for residential and commercial buildings.
Since Congress passed the program in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the cooperation has achieved $6 million in appropriations.
Sherman emphasized in a statement that “our national security and energy independence goals depend on the development of alternative energy technologies.”
“This program is a great way to leverage a modest investment in alternative energy and efficiency, to the benefit of both countries,” he said.
In a letter that Gillibrand sent to Appropriations Committee leaders, she highlighted the importance of promoting energy security
“This program is an important tool in our efforts to achieve greater energy security and independence, and leverages small grant dollars to incentivize private sector innovation and new partnerships in the pursuit of a critical objective,” she said in the letter, which was released by her office.