The Elusive Truth: Cap and Trade Legislation
Posted: 05 May 2010 06:41 AM PDT
Just received a forwarded e-mail from my mom with the subject line: “CAP & TRADE BILL” = License for your home!
I was afraid to open it knowing how much misinformation is out there about this legislation.
As a REALTOR® for almost 40 years, my mom is one of those sharp, informed citizens. Her comments that prefaced the e-mail capture that challenge: “What do you think about this? Is it accurate? What do we do if so? Will be in the office tomorrow a.m.to talk about it. Love, mom”
One of the advantages of being in REALTOR® leadership is you have access to accurate information. So, I can respond to my mom’s concern with real, accurate information. Rather than respond to the exaggerations and misinformation in the e-mail, let’s just explain what the legislation does and does not do:
We, the National Association of REALTORS® in collaboration between volunteer leaders and professional staff, have been most effective is crafting changes supportive to homeownership. The approved house bill has elements that we need:
• Does not create a federal energy audit requirement for real property;
• Exempts existing homes and building from any federal guidelines for new construction energy efficiency information labels.
• Prohibits the implementation of any labeling during a sales transaction.
• Leaves the decision to states as to whether to require energy audits, disclosures, etc.
• Provides property owners with significant financial incentives, matching grants and tools to make property improvements and reduce their energy bills;
• Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating residential and commercial buildings under the Clean Air Act;
• Eliminated an early proposal to allow citizens to sue over minor climate risks under the Clean Air Act; and
• Establishes green building incentives for HUD housing, including a loan program for renewable energy, block grants and credit for upgrades in mortgage underwriting.
Obviously, the process is not complete. The US House of Representatives passed a climate bill called the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The Senate version of the bill has not yet been passed. Then, more than likely, a bill that would reconcile the differences between the House and Senate version would still need to be approved by both houses before the President could sign it into law.
Because there is a long way to go before this bill becomes law, we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to make certain that these positive elements for homeownership remain in the final bill.
There is a larger lesson for us as advocates for property rights and home ownership. First, we need to be attentive and informed. We need to be aggressive and effective. But, both of those require that we have access to the truth. Great government policy should be based on real information, not innuendo and misrepresentation. As the National Association of REALTORS®, we are committed to getting to the truth.
And, by the way, Mom thanks for forwarding the email. I am glad that it is inaccurate, because it allowed me the opportunity to clear some of the misperceptions. It is important to be informed before we respond. (I think that is what you and Dad had taught me, my brother, and my sisters for years…It is a great lesson). – Ron Phipps, 2010 NAR President-Elect