Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Federalism--Green Building Law Quagmire?

Federalism, one of the founding principals of American democracy by which states (and through the states, cities, counties and municipalities) and the Federal government have there own spheres of governance, may ultimately strangle effective green legislation.

I wrote on the blog earlier this summer about a suit filed by HVAC indsutry associations challenging Albuquerque's green building code claiming that the energy requirements for the HVAC equipment was preempted (i.e. already regulated) by Federal law. http://greenlaw.blogspot.com/2008/07/green-building-litigation-hits-in-new.html

Yesterday, "Following months of debate and squabbling, the House of Representatives just passed a bill that could open America’s coasts to offshore drilling, as well as extend the tax credits for clean energy and offer other incentives for clean power and green transportation." http://earth2tech.com/2008/09/16/house-approves-offshore-drilling-extends-clean-energy-credits/ One of the complaints Earth2Tech noted that the Republicans have voiced about the bill is that "the bill also creates a federal renewable portfolio standard that would require 15 percent of the nation’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources. Going beyond states’ mandates is viewed as a form of “big government” with which Republicans disagree."

In short, the Republicans are saying that the Federal government shouldn't pass sustainability regulations, and certain interest groups are suing to prevent states (and through them, municipalities) from regulating, it could create a quagmire in which no government entity is able to effectively pass sustainability regulations.

1 comment:

mtr said...

I agree that it should be left to the States, but I can see this being resolved as the drinking age debate was resolved. Louisiana had a drinking age of 18 (or 19) up until about 10 years ago (or less.) It was changed because the State would not receive Federal money for infrastructure projects, like roads & bridges, until the State raised the drinking age to 21. So, although the Feds don't directly regulate the industry, indirectly they can manipulate it. Unfortunately, with the case of Louisiana, any infrastructure money that would have been implied for Levees went into the pockets of local politicians.