Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox Seminar on Environmental/Energy Funding in Stimulus Package Attracts Full House

March 19, 2009
by MICHAEL GROSS
MGKF Special Alert

Last week, Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP ("MGKF") hosted more than 100 attendees at a seminar focusing on environmental and energy funding and tax incentive opportunities presented by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("ARRA"), commonly known as the "stimulus legislation." Speakers included Charlie Lyons, State Director for U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., Dan Griffiths, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Office of Energy and Technology Deployment and Paul Marchetti, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority ("PENNVEST"). MGKF Founder Joe Manko (also the Governor's Designee and Chairman of PENNVEST) and Managing Partner Robb Fox moderated the presentation and provided legal insight to maximize applicant success for those pursuing stimulus funds. This Special Alert summarizes what was discussed for our clients and friends who were unable to attend.

Panelists outlined the amounts of money and tax incentives that will be available for specific energy and environmental projects under ARRA and the process for obtaining funding approvals. Charlie Lyons provided an overview of the stimulus program, detailing Pennsylvania's share of environmental/energy stimulus dollars and the flow of funds from Washington to Harrisburg. In addition, he addressed transparency and accountability aspects of the program, additional funding for environmental and energy projects through the 2009 Appropriations Bill and provided guidance for working with federal agencies.

Dan Griffiths detailed Pennsylvania's renewable energy agenda, provided details regarding stimulus funding available for Pennsylvania energy projects and covered the process for applying for stimulus dollars for Pennsylvania energy projects. Specifically, Griffiths dissected the $3.1 billion State Energy Program ("SEP") in terms of award disbursement, performance metrics, and usage of funds as well as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant ("EECBG") and how it may be used. Nine additional energy funding opportunities were also discussed and detailed application timeframes and processes were discussed to increase the chance of applicant success.

Paul Marchetti and Joe Manko provided an overview of environmental infrastructure funding in the stimulus bill, detailed the process for applying for stimulus dollars and PENNVEST funding for Pennsylvania clean water/drinking water projects, described additional environmental stimulus funding provisions (e.g. leaking underground storage tanks, Superfund, Brownfields) and discussed the role of other Commonwealth agencies in distributing stimulus dollars.

All panelists stressed the urgency of timely submission of funding applications and the critical elements each project application must contain. For example, Paul Marchetti and Joe Manko clarified that while the first round of PENNVEST stimulus funding had already been allocated, an additional $70 million will be awarded for "green infrastructure" and traditional water infrastructure projects at the PENNVEST July meeting, with applications due on May 19th. Similarly, Dan Griffiths stated that his office would be submitting projects for funding under the SEP to the United States Department of Energy on May 12th.

We have extensively reviewed and analyzed the environmental and energy funding provisions in ARRA, a summary of which is provided here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have specific questions regarding potential ARRA funding, keeping the immediacy of the application deadlines in mind.