Architects to DOE and EPA Senate Hearing Committees

January 15, 2017

Senator John Barrasso, Chair, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works

Senator Tom R. Carper, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chair, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources

Senator Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources

To the Chair, Ranking Member, and Members of the United States Senate Committees on the Environment and Public Works, and the Chair, Ranking Member, and Members of the United States Senate Committees on Energy and Natural Resources:

We, the undersigned architects, our colleagues, and sustainable design experts, recognize that our nation will need to make substantial changes in how we utilize our natural and energy resources if we are going to be able to compete in the 21st century and maintain livable environments for future generations.  We support governmental and private sector policy programs that promote the design, preservation, and construction of sustainable communities and high-performance buildings, they are consistent with our core values and professional and civic responsibilities. These programs provide jobs, cleaner air and water for everyone, and the kind of forward looking vision the world expects from America.

The effects of climate change are visible now and will grow if not reversed.  Extreme weather related hazards and the environmental effects of warmer weather are a national security threat and have already cost lives and livelihoods.  We believe it is possible to reverse the trend of global emissions through public policy that can also ensure our nation remains a leader in technological development and responsible stewardship of our resources. 

We know that buildings are the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce greenhouse gases and we know that the building design and construction industry is actively working to reduce this trend. Our collective work to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings and our communities, to incorporate on-site renewable energy into our projects, and to promote the growth of utility-scaled renewable energy generation depends in large part on the continuity of programs and policies of the United States Federal Government.

We are very concerned that recent appointments to Secretary and Director-level positions in the incoming federal Administration could adversely affect these critically important programs and policies. Specifically:

  • We are concerned that, should he be confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Energy, Governor Rick Perry may act to de-fund programs such as the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), an irreplaceable national survey of building energy use that serves as a benchmark for our design work,  the DOE’s partnership with the American Institute of Architects to create and promote an online interface for the AIA 2030 Commitment, a research and reporting tool that is invaluable to our practices, or to discontinue Federal support for the kind of groundbreaking renewable energy research currently being conducted by organizations such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hear this appointment. We urge you to be certain that whoever is confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Energy will continue to support these critically important programs.

  • We are concerned that, should he be confirmed as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt may act to overturn the Clean Power Plan and to reduce the EPA’s authority to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and regulate carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. His role may also impact the Energy Star Portfolio manager, an online tool that serves as an interface with Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinances that have been adopted by many US cities.  The environmental health gains the building industry can make through increasingly energy efficient design and operations could be neutralized by these actions.

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works will hear this appointment. We urge you to be certain that whoever is confirmed as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency will not compromise these critically important federal laws and policies, and, once confirmed, will promote the policies and programs that will provide opportunities for all Americans. 

Unprecedented challenges provide unprecedented opportunities; we will continue the effort to reduce the emissions that are accelerating global warming and we thank you for providing support for these efforts.  

Sincerely,

 

 

CC: Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. Republican Senators:  Chair, John Barrasso (R, WY), James M. Inhofe (R, OK), Shelly Moore Capito (R, WV), John Boozman (R, AK), Roger F. Wicker (R, MS), Deb Fischer (R, NE),  Jeff Sessions* (R, AL), Jerry Moran (R, KS), Mike Rounds (R, SD), Joni Ernst (R, IA), and Dan Sullivan (R, AK), and Democratic Senators: Ranking Member, Thomas R. Carper (D, DE), Benjamin L. Cardin (D, MD), Bernie Sanders (D, VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), Jeff Merkley (D, OR), Kristen Gillibrand (D, NY), Corey A. Booker (D, NJ), Edward Markey (D, MA), Tammy Duckworth (D, IL), and Kamala Harris (D, CA).

CC: Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. Republican Senators: Chair, Lisa Murkowski (R, AK),  John Barrasso (R, WY), Mike Lee (R, UT), Steve Daines (R, MT), Jeff Sessions* (R, AL), John Hoeven (R, ND), Rob Portman (R, OH), Jim Risch (R, ID), Jeff Flake (R, AZ), Cory Gardner (R, CO), Lamar Alexander (R, TN), and Bill Cassidy (R, LA), and Democratic Senators: Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D, WA), Ron Wyden (D, OR), Debbie Stabenow (D, MI), Joe Manchin III (D, WV), Mazie K. Hirono (D, HI), Tammy Duckworth (D, IL), Bernie Sanders (D, VT), Al Franken (D, MN), Martin Heinrich (D, NM), Angus King (D, ME), and Catherine Cortez Mastro (D, NV). 


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