May 22, 2013
Senator Hoeven Strikes Again
The attack on Section 433 gets earnest.
As expected, Senator John Hoeven has resumed his attack on Section 433. Nick Juliano, at Environment & Energy Daily, reports that the Republican Senator from the frack happy state of North Dakota is planning a two-pronged attack. He will attempt to attach an amendment to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, a bill sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) currently circulating through Congress with broad bipartisan support.
Hoeven’s amendment would eliminate language in Section 433 mandating the eventual phase out by 2030 of fossil fuels used by federal buildings. He will also introduce a stand-alone bill aimed at accomplishing the same. While Hoeven makes the right noises on alternative energy on his web site, his recent effort is clearly aimed at pleasing fossil fuel companies.
The repeal, or even the watering down of Section 433, would be a huge symbolic step backward for the green building movement. To their great credit, the AIA has led an intense lobbying effort on behalf of Section 433. But supporters fear that Sen. Hoeven may be able to pick off votes of Democratic senators from states with large reserves of oil and natural gas. So the best hope for saving Section 433 may now rest with blocking passage of Shaheen-Portman, a piece of legislation with otherwise good intentions.