The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded a $20,000 grant to the state of Connecticut to support the initiatives of the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition.

The coalition works to develop and promote discussion and legislation on environmental issues. Greater New Haven Clean Cities coordinator Lee Grannis said the bulk of the funding will be used at his discretion for everything from event planning to travel costs in his work for the coalition.

“The money from the grant will help go towards spreading the word [about energy issues] and helping the coalition fight for legislation,” he said.

Grannis said the coalition focuses on promoting renewable energy sources, such as alternative fuel and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. New Haven has pledged to reach a level of 20 percent renewable energy by 2010.

“Clean Cities locally has been very helpful in helping the city make moves toward alternative fuel vehicles,” Paul Wessel, director of traffic and parking for New Haven, said.

In addition, the coalition’s work has centered on supporting domestic clean fuels, in order to move away from the country’s dependence on foreign oil, according the coalition’s Web site.

“Our long-term goal is to promote energy independence,” Adam Liegeot ’94, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said. “We want Connecticut to take steady steps in promoting reliable, clean energy sources.”

Bill Parish, a coordinator of Energy Action, an alliance of students working to promote energy issues, said New Haven has successfully managed limited resources to address environmental problems.

“New Haven in the ninth poorest city in the country,” Parish said. “Despite this fact, New Haven has still become a leader in reducing its impact on global warming, which is pretty amazing.”

Liegeot said U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro’s environment-friendly agenda should be credited for New Haven’s leadership in environmental action.

The coalition is also devoting resources to a variety of smaller projects, some of which include Yale, Grannis said.

“One of my main projects has been the development of electric trolleys,” Grannis said. “In addition, we’re working on fuel-run buses and an ethanol filling station. We also are trying to get Yale bus lines to use biodiesel.”

Yale College Council President Andrew Cedar ’06, a member of the Energy Task Force at Yale, said he was happy to see the coalition awarded for its efforts, many of which have been picked up by Yale activists.

“It’s great they’re getting federal recognition,” he said. “Yale has been keeping pace with the city.”

The University’s students have been working to tackle complicated energy issues, including the construction of energy efficient buildings on campus, Cedar said.

“Yale is really doing a lot,” he said. “We’re looking to find sustainable ways to provide energy for campus. In the future, we’ll be looking at renovations, new buildings, and the development of on-site renewable energy sources.”