Building Code Provisions Out of House-Passed Energy Bill
By a margin of 235 to 181, the House on Dec. 6 approved an amended version of comprehensive energy legislation, H.R. 6, that removed onerous building code provisions.
The reworked energy bill would increase vehicle fuel standards, mandate renewable energy use for electricity generation on a broad scale and establish lighting and appliance efficiency standards, as well as green requirements for federal buildings.
Most importantly to NAHB, the detrimental building code provisions that would have called for states to increase code requirements by 30% and 50% in 2010 and 2020, respectively, were not included.
More than 50 groups representing utilities, insulation manufacturers, environmental advocates and state energy offices lobbied to keep those measures in the bill. However, NAHB, along with local and state associations and several real estate industry groups, was able to get these provisions removed prior to House consideration.
The legislation also includes a number of tax provisions for renewable energy that would be funded by repealing lucrative oil and gas industry subsidies.
The tax provisions were immediately decried, mostly by Senate Republicans, who voted successfully to block a cloture motion last Friday and stop further progress of the bill. Meanwhile, the Administration has threatened to veto the measure.
In a related development, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week passed a major climate change bill — S. 2191 — that would establish the first carbon cap-and-trade system in the U.S.
The bipartisan legislation, introduced in October by Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), passed after more than nine hours of deliberation by the committee and consideration of more than 40 amendments, most by Republicans who tried to add provisions for nuclear energy and natural gas production.
NAHB has lobbied against building code provisions in the bill and continues to highlight the fact that new homes are substantially more efficient and that additional regulation on new construction is misguided and will not produce significant energy savings. Many leaders in the real estate industry are working with NAHB in this effort.
Floor time for the measure has not been scheduled, but the bill faces mounting opposition from many industry and trade groups.
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For more information, e-mail Elizabeth Odina at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8570.