California members of Congress are going all the way to the top -- the White House, that is -- in defense of a clean energy program that has hit a major roadblock.
In a letter today, they urge President Barack Obama to fight for Property Assessed Clean Energy program, under which homeowners get financial assistance to install solar panels or make other energy efficiency improvements and the repayments are tacked on to property tax bills. California is the national leader, with programs underway in places including Placer and Sonoma counties and planned expansions in much of the rest of the state.
Of course, they're preaching to the choir -- the Obama administration supports the program and put millions in stimulus money behind it.
It's the Federal Housing Finance Agency that has put the kibosh on it, saying that the program raises too much risk for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The ruling "will have a severe impact on our economy, our local communities and our goal to move to a clean energy economy and establish energy independence," says the letter, signed by 60 members of Congress, led by Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued last week to protect PACE, and the letter urges Obama to "explore all of your available options to quickly restore and resolve the uncertainty surrounding the PACE program."