I have been reviewing the American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009, which is HR2454 in the U. S. House of Representatives. It is commonly called the Cap and Trade Act.
The major part of this bill deals with big energy corporations and the carbon dioxide pollution that they are giving off with their production of energy. It has over 1,000 pages of legalese, so as you can guess it covers a lot more than this. It is written in such a way that individual citizens will have trouble understanding the terminology.
It mainly is going to assign emission allowances to the companies and when they arrive at the number of emission allowances that they have been assigned they will have to purchase allowances from other companies or stop their production for the year. Each year there will be fewer emission allowances assigned which will force the companies to improve their pollution controls. It caps their emissions and requires them to trade for more allowances which gives the name Cap and Trade. That is the CLEAN part of the bill.
Section 210, 202, 204 deals with the National Energy Efficiency Building Codes. These codes will be established by the Secretary of Energy and every state will be required to enforce them. Federal funds will be withheld from any states that do not conform to these codes.
The bill states that it is the goal of the plan that 90 percent of the buildings in the country both commercial and residential be raised to the level of the Energy Star Program efficiency. Up to now the Energy Star program has been voluntary. The EPA and the Department of Energy have given rebates on improvements that reduce pollution and energy consumption. The improvements are such things as increased insulation, energy efficient windows and doors and Energy Star rated appliances.
HR2454 gives unbelievable authority to the Secretary of Energy. The federal bureaucracy will be staggering. There will be paid inspectors in every community and a large state authority in each state to oversee them. Both commercial buildings and residences will be evaluated and given a label stating the energy efficiency rating. Every building can be required to have this label. This rating will be a part of all documents involved in selling and titling property and appraising it for tax purposes.
The Secretary of Energy also has the authority to require that buildings meet a certain energy efficiency level before they can be sold. This will be at the expense of the seller prior to offering the house for sale. Any home that is being remodeled for any reason can be required to be upgraded for energy efficiency as a part of the remodeling process. Without this label a building permit will not be issued.
In addition to the building requirements, this bill also provides for planting of trees. According to the bill 100 trees eliminate 15 tons of carbon dioxide each year and along with 300 pounds of other pollutants. The government plans to supply the tree seedlings and pay individuals for the planting.
The Secretary of Energy will issue a regulation stating where the trees can be planted. It will tell how far apart and how far from fixed objects such as fences, buildings, power poles and roads. This is about the only part of this bill that makes a lot sense. This is a known factor and will affect the pollution in our country. We have destroyed a lot of plants and trees building cities and shopping centers.
Whatever happens to this bill, planting trees is a good idea.