II. Discussion and Approval of 2012 Goals (10 Min)
III. Land Use Forum Review (10 min) - Bob Snowden, Chair - Mary Begier, Vice-Chair
IV. Legislative and Regulatory Update (20 min.) A. 5-Year National Flood Insurance Reform Since September 2008, Congress has approved a series of stopgap extensions of the NFIP's authority to provide flood insurance while debate continues over fiscal reforms to the program. There have been more than a dozen extensions and, in 2010, authority was allowed to expire twice for multiple weeks each time. During the June 2010 lapse, 47,000 home sales were delayed or cancelled according to NAR survey data. Further NAR research confirms more than 1,300 home sales are at stake each day of another NFIP lapse.
B. Clean Water Act Wetlands Guidance/Regulation Last Congress, legislation that NAR opposed was introduced to amend the Clean Water Act to replace “navigable waters” with a broader definition of U.S. waters. However, that bill stalled and has yet to be reintroduced this Congress.
On April 26, 2011, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released "non-binding" draft guidance designed to "clarify Clean Water Act responsibilities." According to the Agencies, this guidance would generally increase the number of water bodies subject to regulation. NAR has submitted comments opposing the proposal and requesting its withdrawal. The EPA/Corps are moving to finalize this guidance shortly, and NAR is working as part of a broad coalition and with key members of Congress on a number of legislative fronts, to stop this apparent overreach of congressional authority.
C. Building Labeling and Energy Efficiency/Research The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to phase-in regulations of CO2 from large building emitters, such as power plants and manufacturing facilities, although legislation and lawsuits to stop them are now pending. Phase 2 of these regulations, when finalized in 5 to 7 years, could begin to regulate relatively smaller emitters, including commercial and apartment buildings depending on where EPA sets the revised regulatory threshold. Under the Clean Air Act, a building owner would be required to obtain federal construction and operating permits including the installation of “Best Available Control Technologies.”
On April 7, 2011, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 910: the Energy Tax Prevention Act, to stop the onslaught of EPA regulations by clarifying that CO2 is not an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. While passing the House 255-172, this legislation authored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) fell short of 60 votes in the Senate on the same day. NAR has lent its support to efforts to keep the EPA from applying the Clean Air Act to CO2, as the statute was written decades ago to address local air quality issues such as smog and not global climate change. We also filed multiple comment letters against the EPA regulating CO2 from commercial or residential buildings.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has almost completed development of a voluntary Home Energy Performance Score as part of Vice-President Biden's "Recovery Through Retrofit" initiative. DOE is currently pilot testing a new computer software program for several communities across the country to compare and rate the energy efficiency of one home with another on a 10-point scale. DOE intends to continue testing and refining the energy audit software until late 2011 when the plan is to take this voluntary program nationwide.
D. Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules The rule was promulgated on April 22, 2010. Initial implementation of the rule was problematic and challenges still exist in making sure that contractors are aware of the rule and know how to be certified. To assist this process NAR has provided comprehensive information to Realtors on how to comply with this regulation and will continue to communicate with EPA on how this rule is adversely impacting Realtors, property managers and contractors.
EPA is also developing proposed RRP regulations for commercial buildings that will be similar to those already developed for residential structures. EPA is behind schedule on the rulemaking for RRP activities on the exterior of commercial buildings, but is estimating proposing a rule in the summer of 2012. Once the exterior RRP rule is finalized, the Agency is planning on developing proposed RRP regulations for the interior of commercial buildings in 2014.
E. CO2 from Buildings Regulation/Research
V. Old Business (10 min)
VI. New Business (10 min)
VII. Committee Member Information Exchange/Discussion (15 min)