Senators urge funds for Israel-U.S. energy cooperation


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Three U.S. senators urged the body’s appropriators to maintain funding for a cooperative agreement with Israel that develops energy alternatives.

"We understand that you are facing a difficult budget environment, which forces you to make difficult choices," Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) wrote in the letter sent Wednesday to the top Democrat and Republican on the Appropriations Committee energy subcommittee. "We believe that this is an investment worth maintaining — for the sake of U.S. jobs, our important bilateral relationship with our ally Israel, and the energy innovation this relationship produces."

The senators want the United States to contribute $2 million to the venture. Israel also contributes $2 million, and private investors contribute as well.

Funds allocated from 2009 to 2011 have been used by U.S. and Israeli firms to advance "areas such as energy grid management, biodiesel, and solar energy," Gillibrand said in a statement.

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