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EDITORIAL: Let's win federal green funds

In the competition for a big pile of federal stimulus dollars to make homes more energy-efficient, Long Island has a good chance. That's not just because Babylon pioneered a green homes approach that the feds seem to like, but because other towns have joined in the application. If this coalition wins, more Island homeowners can save on energy bills.

Nearly $400 million is available through the Retrofit Ramp-Up competition run by the Department of Energy. Up to 20 grants ranging from $5 million to $75 million will go to state and local governments. Our state is competing, with a separate application, which raises a concern about competing against ourselves. Let's hope both applications win a healthy share of funds for fixing energy-leaking homes.

The Island coalition of towns - Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Smithtown and Southampton - is aiming for up to $40 million. That seems ambitious, but Babylon's program is high on DOE's radar, and the formation of a coalition here makes the application stronger. So does the decision by towns to invest a share of their routine stimulus funds in retrofitting.

This money could attract private investments, create jobs, cut carbon dioxide emissions, and lower energy bills. So it's too bad Hempstead, with a huge stock of leaky homes and a legitimate green reputation, didn't join the application. But we should all join in hoping it turns out to be a winner. hN