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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS UPDATE – December 2016

International Government Affairs

For additional information on state, local, and international government affairs, please contact Jim Scarborough, ASHRAE’s Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at [email protected].

 

Nations Move Toward Implementation of Paris Climate Agreement at Marrakech Meeting

The 22 nd session of the Conference of the Parties ( COP 22) kicked-off recently in Marrakech, Morocco, beginning a series of historic discussions that will lead to implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, which recently passed a key approval threshold. Unlike COP 21, where the Paris Climate Agreement was announced, COP 22 is expected to focus more on details, with fewer headline-grabbing announcements.
 
Watch for additional information on COP 22 in subsequent editions of the Government Affairs Update.

 

US Government Affairs

For additional information on state, local, and international government affairs, please contact Jim Scarborough, ASHRAE’s Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at [email protected].

 

EPA Issues Proposed Rule on Revisions to the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Permitting Regulations and Establishment of a Significant Emissions Rate (SER) for GHG Emissions Under the PSD Program

On August 26, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule to revise provisions in the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and title V permitting regulations applicable to greenhouse gases (GHGs) to fully conform with recent court decisions. The EPA is extending the comment period on this proposed rule that was scheduled to close on December 2, 2016 to December 16, 2016. The EPA received a letter requesting the extension of the proposed rule public comment period to allow the public additional time to review the rule and supporting documentation.  Comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0355, may be submitted here. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

 

US Department of Energy Celebrates Weatherization Day and the 40th Anniversary of the Weatherization Assistance Program

On October 30, National Weatherization Day, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) joined 13 states and more than 700 community action agencies in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

WAP advances greater energy efficiency in low-income households and has facilitated energy efficiency improvements in more than 7 million homes. The official observance and the days leading up to it saw a flurry of weatherization-related materials released by DOE.

To learn more, check out WAP's 40th celebration blog.

 

EPA Sends Final Model Training Rules on Clean Power Plan

The US Environmental Protection Agency has submitted rules for consideration that gives states an optional path forward, despite a US Supreme Court ruling that put on hold implementation of the Clean Power Plan. While the Supreme Court did stop the plan from going forward pending further judicial review, 12 states are moving forward with implementation and have asked the EPA for guidance. For more information, click here

 

EWeek To Be Recognized February 19-25, 2017

National Engineers Week (EWeek) is February 19-25, 2017. Since 1951, EWeek has been set aside to recognize the remarkable men and women of this profession. EWeek—the only event of its kind—is a time to:
 

  • Celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world
  • Increase public dialogue about the need for engineers
  • Bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents

 
Eweek is more than a week-long event. EWeek signifies a year-round commitment to making a difference. To help ASHRAE's Chapters seek local recognition of this annual observance, a draft Proclamation and cover letter have been posted on the GGAC web page for Chapters to use. This Proclamation can be issued by Governors, Mayors and other elected officials to commend engineers and the engineering professions for making our lives better in every conceivable way. 
 
ASHRAE's GGAC webpage has a draft cover letter and a draft proclamation that can be used when approaching public officials. To find those, click here.

 

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

For additional information on state, local, and international government affairs, please contact Jim Scarborough, ASHRAE’s Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at [email protected].

 

Notice of Permanent Rulemaking in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Rulemaking Register, published on Friday, October 27, 2016, gives notice of an amendment to an existing rule regarding asbestos abatement which can be found here.

The proposed amendments would clarify several definitions and amend existing recordkeeping requirements. The proposed amendments also would (1) require an owner or operator of a facility in which a major abatement project is occurring to notify the Department of any change in start or completion dates or of any break in operations (Env-A 1804.01); (2) include new, less burdensome alternative requirements for facility operators performing asbestos abatement activities involving vinyl asbestos floor tile, vinyl asbestos floor sheeting, asbestos roofing materials, asbestos siding and other preformed cementitious asbestos materials (in Env-A 1806); and (3) allow an applicant for an abatement entity or ADS contractor license to voluntarily provide proof of business liability insurance or bond, which would be noted by the Department on its website (En v-A 1811.05).

The rules also can be viewed in PDF here.

Deadline for submission of materials in writing or, if practicable for the agency, in the electronic format specified: 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

Contact person for copies and questions including requests to accommodate persons with disabilities: Name: Karla McManus Address: Dept. of Environmental Services 29 Hazen Drive; P.O. Box 95, Concord, NH 03302-0095 Phone #: (603) 271-6854 Fax#: (603) 271-1381 E-mail: [email protected].

 

Renewable Energy Financing Districts Legislation Introduced in New Jersey

Legislation was introduced in the New Jersey Senate on November 3 (Senate Bill 2735) that would permit municipalities to establish renewable energy financing districts in order to make it easier to fund renewable energy improvements. The establishment of a renewable energy financing district will enable some municipalities to access federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs). Through the use of QECBs, (which, due to federal tax incentives, have an interest rate of zero percent) these improvements could possibly pay for themselves given that an individual could receive more in energy savings and other rebates that they would be required to payout in annual special assessment taxes.

To view the full bill and a statement about what this bill would enact, click here.

This bill has two companion bills in the New Jersey Assembly (Assembly Bills 1488 and 1758). Since the NJ legislative biennial session does not end until December 2017, this bill has a good chance of moving its way through the legislative process. 

 

Federal Government Issues Final Rules

The US federal government recently issued several final rules:
 
Consumer Products and Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment; Compressors as Covered Equipment
 
Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Commercial Packaged Boilers
 
Energy Conservation Program for Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Test Procedure for Commercial Water Heating Equipment
 
Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Update to the Refrigerant Management Requirements Under the Clean Air Act

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