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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 9/5/2014

Federal Activities

For additional information on federal issues, please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at [email protected].

 

Congress Set to Return for Short Session before the Elections – Energy Legislation on the Agenda

U.S. House Leadership recently outlined the legislation agenda for the two weeks that Congress will be in session, beginning next Tuesday, before adjourning for the November elections. Energy legislation will figure prominently in these plans.

According to a memo sent from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to House Republicans, the House will consider a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the federal government at fiscal year 2014 levels and temporarily avert a partial government shutdown, in addition to 13 bills focusing on a wide range of energy issues, including:

·         Studying the impact and cost-effectiveness of thermal insulation in federal buildings (H.R.4801)

·         Congressional oversight of energy-related rules costing more than $1 billion (H.R.1582)

·         Hydropower (H.R.1963)

·         Export of liquefied natural gas (H.R.6)

·         Keystone XL Pipeline (H.R.3)

With the exception of the CR, which will be enacted, if the Republican-controlled House passes any of these bills it is unlikely they will be approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate before or after the November elections.

Senate Democrats have also been making news lately, with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recently announcing that the Senate will vote on renewable energy tax incentives before the end of the year.

Aside from Leader Reid’s statement, the legislative agenda for the rest of the year remains very much up in the air. If Republicans win back control of the Senate, the lame duck session after the elections will likely be one of the shortest in history, as Republicans will block any legislation from being enacted until next year when new Members of Congress are sworn in, during which time they would hold the majority in both the House and Senate.

On the other hand, if the Democrats maintain control in the Senate, the lame duck session will likely be a few weeks longer – although it is unclear what legislation might be considered during this extra time.

 

President Obama to Unveil Municipal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Contest

As part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, White House advisor John Podesta recently stated that the President will soon be launching a new competition for municipal governments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and undertake efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Additional information is expected in the coming weeks.

 

DOE Quadrennial Energy Review Meeting Scheduled for Newark, New Jersey

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), under directive by the January 9, 2014 Presidential Memorandum—Establishing a Quadrennial Energy Review, is hosting public hearings around the country. The Presidential Memorandum establishes a Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force focusing on the United States’ infrastructure for transporting, transmitting, storing and delivering energy. As part of this review, public meetings are being held around the country to solicit input. The twelfth of these meetings will be held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Campus Center/Ballroom, 150 Bleeker Street, Newark, NJ on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 9:00 am EDT. This public meeting will feature facilitated panel discussions, followed by an open microphone session. Persons desiring to speak during the open microphone session at the public meeting should come prepared to speak for no more than 5 minutes and will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the order in which they register to speak on a sign-in sheet available at the meeting location, on the morning of the meeting. These meetings provide ASHRAE Chapter volunteers with an opportunity to offer input into national energy policy as it is being considered. If you are interested in attending and would like more information, please go to https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/25/2014-20128/quadrennial-energy-review-notice-of-public-meeting

 

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].

 

NCEES Removes “Masters or Equivalent” from Model State Law

The National Council for Examiners of Engineering and Surveying held their 2014 annual meeting in Seattle, Washington on August 20-23.  At this meeting, delegates voted to modify the approach to requiring additional education for initial engineering licensure by removing specific language in the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules, originally intended to be effective in 2020. As part of the vote, annual meeting delegates decided to instead develop an official NCEES position statement that supports additional engineering education beyond a bachelor’s degree. Among other actions taken at the annual meeting, NCEES member boards voted to remove its Model Law prerequisite that four years of progressive engineering experience be earned before a licensure candidate can take the final licensing exam, the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.

For more information on the meeting, go to http://ncees.org/about-ncees/news/ncees-approves-revised-approach-education-initiative/

 

New Training Power Point Available on GGAC Webpage

A new online training module for GGAC use has been posted on the ASHRAE website. “Organizing the GGAC at the Local Level” was developed in response to requests from GGAC chairs in the survey conducted this past spring. This new training module provides Chapters with basic tools on how to organize to influence public policy makers. To access the Power Point training, go to https://www.ashrae.org/government-affairs/grassroots-government-activities.

 

Montgomery County, Maryland Considering Revisions to Buildings – Energy Efficiency and Environmental Design Codes

Montgomery County, Maryland is considering revisions to its Buildings-Energy Efficiency and Environmental Design codes which could include elimination of ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as a compliance path. The proposal might also not adopt most of the provisions related to indoor environmental quality.

To voice concern and input, one may view the proposal at: http://permittingservices.montgomerycountymd.gov/DPS/pdf/2012IgCCDPSWorkingDocumentonAmendmentstoIgCC.pdf

The point person in Montgomery County, MD is Mark Nauman, LEED AP, Senior Permitting Services Specialist.  He can be reached at [email protected]. Comments are best sent to him as early as possible, prior to the 15th of October. They plan to publish it in their Register November 1 and receive final comments by November 30.   

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