Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Scalise On Building Efficiency Standards: ‘We’re Setting Up A Global Warming Gestapo!’

Posted on

"Scalise On Building Efficiency Standards: ‘We’re Setting Up A Global Warming Gestapo!’"

Share:

google plus icon

Invoking a Nazi reference today, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) argued that establishing national energy efficiency standards for buildings would create a “global warming Gestapo.” Scalise attacked the provision in the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454) to create a federal building efficiency code (Section 201), calling it “ludicrous”:

Let’s go to the bill and look at the penalties. Because there are actually civil penalties in this bill. We’re actually creating a global warming police. . . And then further to page 236: “Each day of unlawful occupancy shall be considered a separate violation.” We’re setting up a global warming Gestapo that can literally come in and now this new term, “unlawful occupancy.” Now living in your home is considered unlawful under this bill.

This is ludicrous.

Watch it:

Putting aside Scalise’s inflammatory rhetoric, his understanding of the provision — which would save working families and businesses millions of dollars, create hundreds of thousands of green jobs, and tackle the nation’s biggest source of global warming pollution — is flawed. Scalise ignored the difference between energy efficiency building codes and safety codes. Scalise was also seemly ignorant that the legislation explicitly preserves local building codes that meet or exceed the national standard, while providing federal support for states to implement new standards. Federal enforcement would only take place if states failed to act.

Without irony, Scalise argued that fighting global warming would threaten the health and safety of Lousianans in danger of “hurricanes and flooding” and tornadoes:

Safety and health have always been the main driving factors behind a building code. What this bill does in Section 201, it’s literally taking global warming, and using global warming to trump safety and health. Because now, if I’m in South Louisiana, and I want to rebuild after hurricane damage — which by the way we had 120,000 homes in Louisiana that had more than 50 percent damage due to Hurricane Katrina — under this bill in section 201, when people are rebuilding those 120,000 homes, they would have to follow the federal building code, and in many cases that would mean they can’t use the same types of strength that they might want to use in their windows. They might want to use stronger windows because they don’t want the storm to blow out their windows. But under this bill, a federal standard could say their windows are out of the federal code.

Global warming likely significantly intensified the devastating power of Hurricane Katrina. As the state of Louisana itself has explained, “Coastal Lousiana is more vulnerable to the effects of global climate change than any other region in the United States. Its low elevation, high rate of subsidence and rapid loss of wetlands expose this area to the worst consequences of climatic change — a rising Gulf, possibly stronger storms, unpredictable rainfall and warmer weather.”

Full transcript:

SCALISE: Section 201 of this cap and trade energy tax creates a national building code, something that we don’t have in place today. If you look across the country right now, 30 states have their own state building codes. A number of states actually go even to the local level where they have codes that are based on different cities or different parishes or counties.

Just to use Louisiana, for an example, right after Hurricane Katrina, we — our legislature passed a statewide building code. We didn’t have one before. We created a statewide building code, and we took into account in our code the various segmented differences between regions of our state. In fact, the code is different in South Louisiana where our main threats are hurricanes and flooding, much different than they are in the northern part of the state of Louisiana, where tornados are a bigger threat.

And so if you look at the fact that thirty states have these types of statewide codes, this bill in section 201 creates a federal code that would trump, throw out all of those state building codes that have been worked on for years in many cases. We worked on ours for months, just for our state’s code. Here, with really no debate, we’re creating a federal code that trumps all of the states’ codes and in some cases would actually lower the standards that states have for building.

And if you go back to why we have building codes and why states have done this, the purpose typically is to protect safety and health. Safety and health have always been the main driving factors behind a building code. What this bill does in Section 201, it’s literally taking global warming, and using global warming to trump safety and health. Because now, if I’m in South Louisiana, and I want to rebuild after hurricane damage — which by the way we had 120,000 homes in Louisiana that had more than 50 percent damage due to Hurricane Katrina — under this bill in section 201, when people are rebuilding those 120,000 homes, they would have to follow the federal building code, and in many cases that would mean they can’t use the same types of strength that they might want to use in their windows. They might want to use stronger windows because they don’t want the storm to blow out their windows. But under this bill, a federal standard could say their windows are out of the federal code.

And then what does that mean? Let’s go to the bill and look at the penalties. Because there are actually civil penalties in this bill. We’re actually creating a global warming police. To page 235: “The Secretary may set and collect reasonable inspection fees to cover the costs of inspections required.” So number one, they can come in, the federal government can come in and inspect your house and send you the bill. And if they find that you’re out of compliance with this new federal code, “The Secretary shall assess a civil penalty for violations of this section.” And then further to page 236: “Each day of unlawful occupancy shall be considered a separate violation.” We’re setting up a global warming Gestapo that can literally come in and now this new term, “unlawful occupancy.” Now living in your home is considered unlawful under this bill.

This is ludicrous.

If you go — first of all, let’s go to the U.S. Constitution and look at the tenth amendment. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to states respectively or to the people.” The tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution says the states have the right to do what they’re doing if they’re not prohibited by the Constitution. so states have established building codes. This bill comes in and basically says throw out the tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the federal government’s gonna throw out your building code.

I would like to submit the U.S. Constitution into the record, if I can, by unanimous consent so it can be reviewed because I think we also need to go to another section that talks about unlawful occupancy. The only part of the constitution that talks about unlawful occupancy of your home says, in amendment three, “No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house.” So basically, the federal government and the constitution says the protection as a homeowner gives you the ability to determine who comes in your house. Here we’re saying, “Each day of unlawful occupancy shall be considered a separate violation” and you’ll be subject to a federal fine. That’s what this section does.

You’ve got a number of groups that have come out in strong opposition to section 201 and support my amendment. I’d like to read and enter into the record a letter from about nine different organizations including the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors, the Building Owners and Managers Association International, the National Apartment Association and a number of others who said, “The proposal creates a new authority for the federal government to police building codes, holds developers and owners of buildings including homeowners liable for not reaching federal energy efficiency mandates, even if the buildings are presumably in compliance with applicable local building codes and establishes a civil penalty for violators of this section of the bill. This measure would have a chilling effect on development and property transfer across the spectrum of real properties.”

Now we’re in a housing slump right now. Why would we want to be passing legislation that creates a federal building code with civil penalties and tells people living in their houses that they’re unlawful occupying that house if they don’t immediate this new federal building code when they’re in compliance with their own state’s federal building code? This is ludicrous. I’ll enter these letters into the record including the one from the National Association of Home Builders which goes further and talks about the legal problems with this, and also the shortfalls, how this would adversely effect homeowners in this country, who would be subject to this global warming police that would be created to come in and drag you out of your house and fine you civilly in federal court because maybe you wanted to protect your family at a higher level than the federal government.

« »

Comments are closed.