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Government Affairs Update 12/10/16

Future of Comprehensive Energy Bill (And many other Obama Administration backed legislation)  Appears Dim

Congress returned to Washington after the election for a brief lame-duck session. Their main task is the short-term continuing resolution to finance the federal government that will likely send the budget debate to March. It is unclear how Congress will commit funds to the address the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Additionally, hope of passing a comprehensive energy bill sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) appears dim. According to a joint statement issued by the two Senators, they have responded to the House version of the bill "with a new offer that restores a host of provisions that the House was prepared to drop — including those related to [liquefied natural gas] exports, sportsmen's, the Land & Water Conservation Fund, hydropower, natural gas pipelines, manufacturing, innovation, carbon benefits of biomass, and critical minerals. We also remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached on provisions to address California's drought crisis, to remedy wildfire funding challenges, and to improve forest management." Speaker Ryan's office stated late Wednesday afternoon that the bill will not move forward in this session since the two Chambers were unable to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
DOE Extends Public Comment Period on Proposed Residential Furnace Rules
 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces the reopening of the public comment period for submitting comments and data on the NOPR or any other aspect of the rulemaking for residential furnaces. Originally published as a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) and announcement of public meeting pertaining to proposed energy conservation standards for residential furnaces in the Federal Register, the notice provided an opportunity for submitting written comments, data, and information by November 22, 2016. The comment period has now been reopened until January 6, 2017. Learn more about this extension and how to file comments.
State of Utah Issues Notice of Permanent Rule Making on Energy Management and Indoor Air Quality
 
The Utah State Bulletin, published on December 1, 2016, has issued a notice of permanent rule making for Administrative Services, Facilities Construction and Management in that state. The proposed additions and changes to a rule already enacted include references to the governing sections of the Utah Code, changed or clarified definitions, updated deadlines for reporting and filing requests, and additional detailed requirements related to the operation and maintenance of state-owned facilities. The rule, found here on Bill Track 50 pages 12-17 (Bulletin: pages 6-11).
 
In particular on pages 16-17, there are specific references to ASHRAE, HVAC and Refrigeration, Indoor Air Quality and Energy Management, and analysis of energy usage
Pittsburgh Ordinance Requires Public Reporting of Building Energy Efficiency, Water Use

Mayor Bill Peduto recently signed a new ordinance that requires nonresidential buildings of 50,000 square feet or more in Pittsburgh to share their energy and water use data with the city. The benchmarking ordinance encourages building operators to use the federal Energy Star program's Portfolio Manager software. The mandatory ordinance builds on a voluntary effort by the city's downtown district, with a goal of cutting building energy use in half within the next 14 years. Click on this hyperlink for more on Pittsburgh's Ordinance that requires public reporting of building energy efficiency and water use
 

 

An ordinance being considered by the Portland, Ore., city council would mandate that home sellers provide potential buyers with data on their homes' energy use. The measure would require each seller to have their home scored on a 1 to 10 scale, as well as disclose its estimated annual energy use and estimated cost. The city also may post the scores publicly online. If approved, the measure would become effective in 2018. The goal, said Mayor Charlie Hales, is to give home buyers a way to compare properties' energy use and to better gauge the entire cost of owning a given home.

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