Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Home Energy & Climate Bill

Home Energy & Climate Bill Unveiled
House Energy Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Subcommittee Chair Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled 648-page draft climate and energy legislation, the "American Clean Energy and Security Act." Among the many provisions, the bill would provide funding to states that:

  • Increase the energy efficiency of new and renovated buildings by 30-50% over latest model codes. The Energy Department could develop future models which states must adopt to receive bill funding.
  • Implement energy labels (like mileage/gallon labels for cars) on homes and buildings. The label must be accessible so it is "more fully factored into market transactions," but states could provide it at times other than the property's sale (e.g., when an energy audit is conducted).
The Waxman-Markey bill would also:
  • Direct the EPA to issue regulations for states to implement labeling and building codes, and assure that citizens can bring lawsuits to force action; and
  • Bar EPA from regulating carbon emissions under the New Source Review program, which effectively prevents regulation of tens of thousands (EPA numbers) of office and apartment buildings. If Congress fails to enact this provision, EPA will have to require permits and installation of energy saving measures (such as solar panels) in order for owners to build, maintain or operate buildings with 20 or more units. This is the result of a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.

Chairman Waxman has vowed to move the bill out of his committee by Memorial Day so the House could consider it later this year. The Senate is also developing legislation but the energy and climate provisions are being drafted by different committees on separate tracks, so the timing is less clear.

As reported by NAR

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