The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
May 2nd, 2016

Energy Modernization Act Defies Odds, Passes Senate

In these days of partisan politics, it’s unusual for a bill to pass the Senate—let alone at a margin of 85-12.  The Energy Policy Modernization Act (S.2012) seems to have overwhelming support, marking the first broad energy bill to make it through the Senate since the George W. Bush administration.

The bill amends several previous acts and will serve to promote renewable energy, speed the export of domestically produced natural gas, cut greenhouse gas pollution and improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

But perhaps most importantly, the Isakson-Bennett amendment, which includes the FHA appraisal rule modifications, was accepted as part of the bill. This measure adds value to appraisals of homes with energy-efficient upgrades. My hope is that this is the beginning of a trend toward consideration of energy-efficient upgrades for both financing and payback analyses, much like the way things already operate in Europe.

Persistence Pays Off

Interestingly enough, at the same time the bill hit the Senate floor, the WDMA was in town for its annual legislative conference and was literally on the Hill while the vote was taking place. While I have run hot and cold on how much will be accomplished in D.C. this year, this one success makes the effort of so many—especially the WDMA—worthwhile.

I’m also happy to report that of the 10 senators covering my company’s priority states, nine voted in favor of the amendment and the bill. See how your senators voted.

The View from Here is that passage of the Energy Modernization Act in the Senate clearly shows how important energy conservation is to our politicians and its impact on how consumers prioritize remodeling projects.

The next step is for the House and Senate to forge a compromise between the Senate bill and a similar bill passed by the House last year. If/when the compromise is reached, it will be the first major energy bill to hit the president’s desk for signature since 2007. I assure you I will be watching this closely and will report back with progress, but for now, this victory is worth celebrating.

What’s your View? Email me directly at Eric.Jackson@Quanex.com.

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