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ACC Tells Oversight Committee Green Building Monopolies Hurt American Competitiveness


Contact: Marie Francis (202) 249-6514
Email: marie_francis@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2012) – In testimony today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Vice President of the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Steve Russell spoke about regulatory burdens facing the chemical industry that impede job and economic growth.

During the hearing titled, Continuing Oversight of Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation: Job Creators Still Buried by Red Tape, Russell explained how the General Services Administration’s (GSA) exclusive use of a single green building rating system, currently the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standard, adversely impacts producers of energy efficient building products.

“ACC supports the broad objective of energy efficiency; our members have worked with the LEED developers, and we have supported laws and regulations to increase energy efficiency. Unfortunately, GSA has given its stamp of approval only to LEED, and LEED is currently being revised in a way that could jeopardize U.S. jobs and our industry’s competitiveness, not to mention building performance and efficiency,” said Russell.

The current proposal to update LEED is a significant departure from the previous version of the green building rating system. Called LEED v4, it proposes several dramatic changes that are intended to reduce or eliminate the use of trusted, proven and beneficial products of chemistry used in building and construction products, without regard to American jobs or costs to taxpayers.

Russell described specific concerns the industry has about GSA’s use of any private standard as creating a monopoly in the federal construction sector for one private green building standard; resulting in a system which is increasingly not science-based or data-driven; and impairing the ability of small businesses in the building and construction sector to compete.

Describing how GSA has severely reduced healthy competition among green building standards, Russell said that “by picking a single rating system GSA effectively creates a monopoly for federal buildings. When the entire federal government picks just one private standard, competition–the engine that drives lower prices, greater efficiency, and higher quality products–is removed.”

Ultimately, it is the taxpayer that suffers from a lack of competition. “Once a standard captures the entire market there is no competition, and no incentive to keep the price of implementing the standard down, so in the end the taxpayer pays more,” Russell said. The lack of scientific justification in LEED v4 should make it unsupportable for the federal government, according to Russell: “The recently-proposed LEED update is so poorly grounded in science that the system gives ‘credits’ for avoiding proven U.S.-made products.”

In closing, Russell urged the committee “to ask GSA to recommend science-based, performance-based green building ratings systems that reduce costs to businesses and save American jobs.”

 

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