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Long IslandPolitics

Obama picks Virginia, not LI, to talk 'Cash for Caulkers'

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the economy following his meeting with the members of financial services industry, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2009. Credit: Getty/JEWEL SAMAD

President Barack Obama visited a Home Depot store in Virginia Tuesday morning to talk about the 'Cash for Caulkers' energy initiative, a day after U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the federal government should use a Long Island program as its model for the proposed federal effort to upgrade energy-sapping older homes.

Obama was joined at the Northern Virginia outlet by members of Congress representing Virginia and labor and business leaders involved in services to make lower use of natural resources consumed by homeowners.

The push was also seen by the administration as part of it’s jobs creation effort. The visit marks the fourth time in less than two weeks that the president has presided over a high-profile event to call attention to his efforts to bring down the nation’s double-digit unemployment rate.

Schumer called the program a "win-win-win for homeowners, for local businesses and for the entire economy."

"New York is in a prime position to do very well under this program because our communities have older homes that are in need weatherization and energy upgrades."


Monday, Schumer used the tidy Garden City Park home of Annette and Jon Foppiano as a backdrop to urge that the proposed federal “Homestar” program model itself after the Town of Babylon’s home-energy retrofit program.

“We’re here today because there’s a new program that represents a win, win, win for homeowners like Annette and Jon, for Long Island and for the country, and the program would help jump-start the economy,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Homestar is designed to improve energy efficiency in older homes through insulation upgrades and other cost-effective improvements that can help reduce utility bills.

The proposed initiative would give taxpayers incentives for energy-related home improvements, but details of the program must still be worked out by the federal government.

Homestar could be similar to Babylon’s Long Island Green Homes program in three ways, Schumer said: by targeting it to communities that work together, by targeting older homes and by providing funding directly to local governments.

In Babylon’s program, the town pays the contractor for the upgrades, then works with residents on a repayment schedule.

Babylon developed the green homes program, which begins with a home-energy audit, and now has joined with seven other Long Island towns to encourage retrofit energy improvements to residential properties, Schumer said.

"The industry could definitely use a boost,” said Sal Ferro, owner of Alure Home Improvements in East Meadow, who likes the Homestar concept. “Everyone thinks people who are not moving are improving, but money is tight, so that’s just not the case. (With the Associated Press)

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