American Energy Innovation Act Is Dangerous Green Virtue Signaling

Reposted From Natural Gas Now

Posted on  by Tom Shepstone

Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Congress is up to no good. The American Energy Innovation Act, paraded as bipartisan, is nothing but green virtue signaling and dangerous.

The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution says the following:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

James Madison thought this amendment was superfluous; that it was already obvious the Constitution conferred no rights on the Federal government that were not specifically enumerated in the document. Since then, Congress has made a mockery of the amendment by claiming the right to regulate interstate commerce, which is enumerated, allows it to do anything it wants. The proposed American Energy Innovation Act offers a perfect illustration of this corruption. It is unnecessary. It wastes money. It picks winners and losers designated by lobbyists writing the bill. It is profoundly dangerous.

 American Energy Innovation Act
Alyson Hurt from Alexandria, Va., USA – Flickr
Greenery seems to be taking over the roof of one building in lower Manhattan (419 Lafayette St). Green City CC BY 2.0 File:Green City.jpg Created: 10 August 2003

Is a green roof in your future? Well, perhaps. If the American Energy Innovation Act is enacted you may be at least required to make sure you can accommodate it in the future. Imagine, just imagine, what the Feds have in store for us and the added costs, of course.

This legislation was brought to my attention by a good friend who noted it’s been endorsed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Nature Conservancy, which is the first sign of danger. Microsoft (Bill Gates) has also signed on, which might be seen as a red flashing stop light given his self-perception as one of the masters of the universe. The mere fact it’s bi-partisan in this day and age tells us it’s a creature from the swamp, where special interests write the bills, no legislator reads them and they are voted up or down based on campaign contributions.

The big giveaway, though, is the length of the bill, which is now 555 pages but could end up being far longer. There are 221 proposed amendments for crying out loud.  Regardless, whenever a bill is more than a handful of pages of length, we know it’s stuffed with rewards, surprises and tricks created by lobbyists. As Nancy Pelosi lectured us, “we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,” which Churchill’s explained by noting “the length of this document defends it well against the risk of its being read.”

Such is the American Energy Innovation Act. It is one large compendium of green virtual signaling and green giveaways of our money. It’s purpose is to bully our states into doing stupid things that will increase the cost of housing, incentivize green political correctness and open the door to regulating oil and gas out-of-buildings by surrendering authority to anonymous building code writers. Peruse the legislation and you’ll find it’s pure legislative malarkey, tailored to include buzz words such as energy efficiency, innovation and geothermal energy, combined with obscure references that are designed to hide what’s really going on.

Then, there are the amendments, which, if adopted, will swell the size of the document and its complexity even further. One called the “Portman Amendment,” for instance, is a legislative atrocity. You can read the whole thing here, but let me illustrate with a few examples (emphasis added):

Section 303 of the Energy Conservation and Production Act (42 U.S.C. 6832) (as amended by section  1034(a)) is amended–

(1) by striking paragraph (17) (as redesignated by that section) and inserting the following:

“(17) Model building energy code.–The term `model building energy code’ means a voluntary building energy code or standard developed and updated by interested persons, such  as the code or standard developed by–

(A) the Council of American Building Officials, or its legal successor, International Code Council, Inc.;

(B) the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and  Air-Conditioning Engineers; or

(C) other appropriate organizations.”

Everything is convoluted and hard to follow, of course. The proper way to do it is to show an entire section and then, by cross-outs and insertions, illustrate the changes, but that would be too easy to follow. Putting that aside, though, note the use of the word “voluntary,” which is meaningless, as states such as New York and Pennsylvania that have already adopted international building codes will simply adopt whatever is generated virtually automatically. And, what we see very clearly here is legislation being written by unelected (indeed, not even officially appointed) “interested persons” and “other appropriate organizations.” The 10th Amendment now means not only that the Feds can do whatever they damn well please, but they can pass that power onto the unnamed whenever they wish and, as for the States and the people; well, they will obey. This alone should be cause to throw the whole thing out, but there’s more:

(A) In general.–Not later than 2 years after the date of  publication of a revision to a model building energy code, each State or Indian tribe shall certify whether the State or  Indian tribe, respectively, has reviewed and updated the energy provisions of the building code of the State or Indian tribe, respectively.

(B) Demonstration.–The certification shall include a demonstration of whether the energy savings for the code provisions that are in effect throughout the territory of the State or Indian tribe meet or exceed the energy savings of the updated model building energy code.

So much for voluntary; this is a proposed Federally imposed mandate by a Congress that has zero enumerated authority to do so. And, the Feds are going to enforce their rules:

(3) Achievement of compliance.–A State or Indian tribe shall be considered to achieve full compliance under paragraph (1) if–

(A) at least 90 percent of building space covered by the code in the preceding year substantially meets all the requirements of the applicable code specified in paragraph  (1), or achieves equivalent or greater energy savings level; or

(B) the estimated excess energy use of buildings that did not meet the applicable code specified in paragraph (1) in the preceding year, compared to a baseline of comparable  buildings that meet this code, is not more than 5 percent of the estimated energy use of all buildings covered by this code during the preceding year.

This is followed by procedures for the Feds to ensure the states do exactly as they’re told. Money is thrown at the states, too, of course, so to perfect the carrot and stick approach to making the people follow the rules. The fact the Feds have no business getting involved in building codes and no money to give other than funds borrowed from our great-great-grandchildren is irrelevant.

But, it is the tone of the legislation that is even worse:

The Secretary, in consultation with building science experts from the National Laboratories and  institutions of higher education, designers and builders of energy-efficient residential and commercial buildings, code officials, code and standards developers, and other stakeholders, shall undertake a study of the feasibility, impact, economics, and merit of–

(1) code and standards improvements that would require that buildings be designed, sited, and constructed in a manner that makes the buildings more adaptable in the future to become zero-net-energy after initial construction, as  advances are achieved in energy-saving technologies;

The intent here, in other words, is to make us design our buildings to accept non-economic renewables in the future on the theory they might be economical in the future. It could mean strengthening your roof to support solar even though you don’t want solar and it makes no sense without subsidies paid for by your great-great-grandchildren. It could mean duplicating your electrical and plumbing systems to accommodate appliances that don’t use gas or propane, even though those are more efficient, more economic and more environmentally sound when considering full effects in the real world.

It could mean a lot of things and the only thing we know now is that every single one of them will increase housing costs and indirectly further subsidize already uneconomical renewables. Moreover, what is studied today by “other stakeholders” (code for special interests) will become the rule tomorrow; that’s the way the Feds roll, and it will inevitably lead to more states and cities banning the use of gas and propane in new businesses and homes, before requiring the people to replace their furnaces with geothermal systems and other nonsensical energy systems.

Then, there’s this, outrageously offered under the guise of protecting small businesses while smothering them:

In establishing building code targets under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall develop and adjust the targets in recognition of potential savings and costs  relating to–

(A) efficiency gains made in appliances, lighting,  windows, insulation, and building envelope sealing;

(B) advancement of distributed generation and on-site renewable power generation technologies;

(C) equipment improvements for heating, cooling, and  ventilation systems;

(D) building management systems and smart technologies to reduce energy use; and

(E) other technologies, practices, and building systems that the Secretary considers appropriate regarding building plug load and other energy uses.

Innocuous though it may sound, there is enough power in this short section for a Democrat Congress to destroy the natural gas industry that has made us strong and energy independent and it’s being advanced in a Republican Senate! Shame on them! Moreover, why aren’t conservative organizations making a principled stand against the unscientific elements being proposed here? And, why aren’t utility, fossil fuel, and other related companies objecting to the attacks on fossil fuels imbedded here? This American Energy Innovation Act is crap legislation and it should die a miserable death in the quicksand of the swamp.

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Benjamin Blair
September 26, 2020 6:27 am

This is a classic example of the subversion of democracy by those who know the system and manouver to give unelected regulators powers that by-pass scrutiny by elected representatives. This leads directly to tasngles of red tape; to empire building by government officials at taxpayers’expense, and grotesque inefficiencies all round. It is a perfect illustration of how civil servants or public servants have become the masters of those who pay their salaries — the taxpayers and citizens. Truly they are the new aristocrats and like all aristocrats they believe they are superior to ordinary people. They will get another shock in November when the ordinary people elect Donald Trump again.

Reply to  Benjamin Blair
September 26, 2020 11:20 am

Every single bit of this nonsense should be implemented by the FREE MARKETPLACE … or not. The Free Market will readily pick the winners and losers, all of which will be “green” because of inherent efficiency, and lower (or neutral) cost.

Consider the prevalent use of manufactured lumber. Starting with the invention of plywood and continuing through glu-lam beams, OSB plywood, truss joists, and roof trusses. Every innovation in manufactured lumber saves trees, saves money, and conserves resources. Stronger wood products are produced by the virtual waste products of sawmill operations. The resulting products are stronger, more stable. These “green” products are a win-win, which which allow builders to do more, with less.

Similarly, bio-based foam insulation is becoming a more dominant product in the building industry. Offering far greater R-value per inch of insulation. Every Free Market innovation in building materials and techniques has been inherently “green”. No Communist Command and Control government regulations needed.

Solar remains a novelty in most applications … except where State Legislatures and PUC’s work in conjunction AGAINST the consumer to jack up electric pricing to fabricate an economic incentive to use inefficient PV solar. These same Communist
-leaning Cities and States are eliminating clean, efficient Natural Gas from ANY use whatsoever.

Forcing inefficient behavior is like forcing an attractive woman to date a fugly loser. It will not last. And it will take lots and lots of $$$ to force the coupling.

Reply to  Kenji
September 26, 2020 4:51 pm

You get back at the solar power creeps by joining them. I want to once again thank everyone else who has contributed to our solar panels.

The reply is to install solar panels where they are reasonable, between 45deg north and south. Beyond that it gets to be a real waste of your own money. Don’t try to go off grid if there is a decent electric supply co. around. Most places they now have to accept and pay for solar and wind input.

Pay for the installation up front. Even without subsidies it will at least recover most of your electric bills every dollar you put into it before it gets useless.

NEVER fall for the lease arrangement offers. They are scams. At best you don’t get much out of it. At worst you might find you house unsaleable do to the interminable lease agreement. New owners may not want the panels and you end up having to pay dearly for removal as much as the installation cost.

Most areas, at least on the east coast have interstate agreements on what are called SREC’s)Solar Renewable Energy Credits) . These are manated by the states and administered by the power companies.

In PA we’re presently getting enough payments that more than offset the electric bill in addition to using less electricity in the summer heat(the original intent). The installation got paid off within 5 years and now delivers about twice the electric bill in cash.

The panels we got were Sunpower. They were near the top of the price list. At the time they were the caddillac of solar panels. I don’t know what the situation is now. Much production and cost cutting was done with China production and high quality, long lived panels will be substantially more than cheap imported ones..

Flight Level
September 26, 2020 6:44 am

Here’s not significantly better. Even Switzerland has adopted new “global warming abatement” massive CO2 taxes on any new other than electric heating system and airfare.

A ticket will be taxed anywhere from 30$ to 2000$ (yes, two-thousand $) depending on class, destination, operation and aircraft types.

Right now when all airports are packed with grounded A/C.

Reply to  Flight Level
September 26, 2020 11:07 am

Remember when only the well to do or businessmen could fly, before the airline industry deregulation?

They will get the riff raff of the planes again so THEY can fly in comfort.

Flight Level
Reply to  Drake
September 26, 2020 5:38 pm

If they also accept to travel with the awful safety standards of back then.

Mass travel fuels a complex set of innovations, information, facilities, services that would disappear if not funded and maintained by the collective efforts of mass travel.

September 26, 2020 6:52 am

Already have email and direct call in to our reps about this current abomination. Get on it, people! They are actually listening right now, many very nervous people in Congress at this moment.

Dan Sudlik
September 26, 2020 6:55 am

When renewables work and are economically viable you won’t have to force them on people.

Reply to  Dan Sudlik
September 26, 2020 7:52 am

We decide what works and is economically viable and resistance is futile deplorable.

John Garrett
Reply to  Dan Sudlik
September 26, 2020 7:55 am

× 1,000,000

Reply to  John Garrett
September 26, 2020 4:51 pm

Thank you, John!

September 26, 2020 7:08 am

If these global warmists really wanted to reduce CO2 emissions, they would push for Gen 4 SMR molten salt nuclear reactors, not primitive technologies like wind and solar.

Curious George
Reply to  ColMosby
September 26, 2020 8:47 am

Isn’t tabletop fusion even better?

Reply to  Curious George
September 26, 2020 9:39 am

Mr. Fusion
It uses banana peels and old soda cans.

Reply to  Curious George
September 26, 2020 1:04 pm

Mr Fusion is the only way to fly!

John Endicott
Reply to  2hotel9
September 28, 2020 5:42 am

Roads, where the greens are taking us we don’t need roads because the cars will run on electricity that we won’t have because of all the black outs due to having an unstable gird of nothing but wind, sunshine and unicorn farts.

Reply to  John Endicott
September 28, 2020 8:01 am

I know some guys who build off road racing trucks, they are playing around with building an electric version, minimal batteries, all run from LPG electric generator. They all work in auto body/reconstruction shops, two are state inspection certified. They are looking to have it road legal in PA. Can’t keep a redneck down, babee!

September 26, 2020 7:13 am

France has required that all new commercial buildings have either part solar or part green roof since August 2015…

Reply to  griff
September 26, 2020 8:10 am


Reply to  griff
September 26, 2020 8:36 am

So, France had the Maginot Line too.

Reply to  mkelly
September 26, 2020 9:20 am


Reply to  griff
September 26, 2020 2:17 pm

Maybe that’s at least part of the reason their household electricity prices are USD 7 cents/kWh higher than ours here in the U.S.

No thanks.

Reply to  griff
September 26, 2020 6:19 pm

Why would anyone care what a mob of “cheese eating surrender monkeys” did?
Apparently Griff didn’t get the usual parents anecdote, “if I stuck my head in an oven would you”?

You might want to actually provide an argument or at least context MR troll.

Reply to  LdB
September 27, 2020 6:36 am

The USA is kind of backward when it comes to modern infrastructure, is what they say.

and boy, you should hear what Europe thinks about Trump’s covidiot USA…

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2020 7:11 am

Who is “they”?

Is that why “they” come here for advanced education, medical treatment, or protection from evil?

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2020 8:18 am

The way to be an advanced society, is to be the first on the block to adopt technology that doesn’t work?

Rich Davis
September 26, 2020 7:15 am

It is one large compendium of green virtual signaling

should be virtue

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 26, 2020 9:12 am

There are a few typos in this thing.

Along with the one you noted:

“which Churchill’s explained”

It’s purpose is to bully our states”

And the “Is a green roof in your future?” paragraph is repeated.

Probably more, I didn’t go through the whole thing.

John Endicott
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 28, 2020 5:43 am

I’m surprised, I’d have thought you’d be as giddy as a school girl over having all those typos to grammar Nazi over.

Reply to  John Endicott
October 9, 2020 9:34 pm

I’m surprised that you call someone a nazi that points out typos. Did I call for the death of the writer?

September 26, 2020 7:36 am

As we are learning, the Trump Russia collllluuuusion hoax was a bipartisan effort. Government is a club and they don’t like outsiders. If they can make money off green at the expense of the populace, then green is good whether they shade it in red or blue.

Reply to  Derg
September 26, 2020 7:37 am

And Michael Flynn…that guy was railroaded

Curious George
September 26, 2020 7:44 am

I don’t intend to wade into 555 pages of legalese, put together by geniuses who brought us an impeachment farce – excuse me, parody, as labeled by a French television. They only want the best for everybody except themselves.

HD Hoese
September 26, 2020 7:51 am

Only one example, I was saving part of an old toilet but good samaritan put us in a new one. Old one required one flush, new one three. Estimate worse by factor more than three because of frustration and water use. Other examples around, need amendment that any law applies especially to all who required it and wrote the specifications. It’s called science in the old common sense, problem solving mode. 555 pages + amendments guarantees contradictions, even worse. Where did this come from?

Maybe just require solar panels on bicycles.

Peter W
Reply to  HD Hoese
September 26, 2020 8:44 am

“require solar panels on bicycles” – Why, of course! How else are you going to reduce the amount of breathing it takes to make those things move? Every breath puts more CO2 into the atmosphere, didn’t you know that?

Reply to  HD Hoese
September 27, 2020 6:34 am

That’s already a thing…

I don’t think its a mainstream idea, maybe.

John Endicott
Reply to  HD Hoese
September 28, 2020 5:39 am

Maybe just require solar panels on bicycles.

or screen doors on submarines.

Reply to  John Endicott
September 28, 2020 8:04 am

USS Jimah Cahrter had cavitation issues till they switched to an aluminum storm door, the wood frame screen door just wasn’t up to the task.

John Garrett
September 26, 2020 7:54 am

The frickin’ god*amn swamp creatures must be destroyed or they will destroy all of our freedoms.

September 26, 2020 8:42 am

It is communism: No mention of people, efficiency of work and value of life, only the power of government to do as it wishes. We were told of this during the democratic debates where buildings would be demolished to be replaced by blocks and no windows. Most cast it aside as stupid and irresponsible.

To paraphrase, we don’t need no stinkin international building codes.

E. Martin
September 26, 2020 8:46 am

Perhaps WUWT could collect and organize those many papers cited in the past year or so on No Tricks Zone that provide data that shows no warming in many places around the World — which we could then send on to our senators/congressmen and help them see and understand the real climate world.
Perhaps it could even begin the collapse of the Climate Change-CO2/Warming scam.

Kevin kilty
September 26, 2020 9:00 am

The one thing that would act as sand in the gears of these efforts is the requirement of an honest benefit to cost ratio (B/C) be greater than one using a 7% interest rate. But the slime in public policy often actually prohibit such in the enabling legislation — and are applauded for this by the academic class. Instead, we see the adoption of something like a potential savings to costs ratio, which being undefined can mean practically anything.

John K. Sutherland.
September 26, 2020 9:36 am

Any bill longer than 20 pages, should be sent back immediately.

Reply to  John K. Sutherland.
September 26, 2020 1:06 pm

No, thrown out and the person responsible punished.

Reply to  John K. Sutherland.
September 26, 2020 2:47 pm

No, shred it, use it to fill in as padding for shipping useless junk, and then it can go into the fireplace as a firestarter come winter.

September 26, 2020 9:37 am

All this green energy stuff is going to do exactly as the climate ‘retrograde retard’s are openly advocating with their “decimate the world population by any means available” directive.
September’s sunspot count will be just above 0. This solar minimum is going nowhere and more and more looks like the one at the beginning of the last century
when the global temperature (CruTem4 1910-1920) was about 1C lower than today.
Global cooling is just around the corner.

September 26, 2020 9:39 am

In every area I encounter in facilities design, construction and operations, innovation and technology advancement have been occurring and are occurring due to smart, creative and motivated people. No government or special interest intervention is either required or welcomed. If something doesn’t work, is outdated, it is eventually replaced or surpassed by another technology or product. Old buildings and building systems get renovated. New buildings can benefit from valuable improvements. People get it. They know, for example, that efficiency in energy and resources (e.g., water use) are a good thing to a point, because it can reduce construction and/or operating costs. But many ideas and supposed innovations just don’t have a positive return on investment.

When government and special interests intervene or mandate alternatives, chaos and ineffectiveness ensue. “Renewable” portfolio standards, low flow toilets, Energy Star appliances, etc. skew or derail progress, wasting vast sums along the way. A new “profession” has sprung up, “Sustainability specialists,” another term for incurable BUSYBODIES who have zero talent at accomplishing or producing anything of value.

In my own specialties, waste management, site assessment and cleanup, government passed laws and strangling regulations in areas that were already in the process of being recognized and corrected. Even without RCRA and CERCLA, the U.S. would have come to the same realizations and achieved positive environmental results, but without paying attorneys and consultants 1/3 of the project costs. There is undoubtedly a place for standardization and rules for the “bad actors,” but government inevitably creates overly prescriptive requirements and stifles creativity and pragmatism. It also eventually runs out of big things to do and begins to dive deep and make life miserable for everyone.

Throw a false “crisis” (e.g. climate; systemic racism) into the blender, and the result is anarchy, pain and suffering to no good purpose. Just listen to Griff for a taste of the foolishness of pushing a fruitless cause.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
September 27, 2020 6:31 am

But I have most of the world’s govts and nearly all the world’s largest corporations on my side of the argument.

And the actual science, of course.

And a huge amount of installed and fully working renewable infrastructure.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2020 6:55 am

The only “science” on your side is from Scientology, another fake religion. No wonder you embrace it so readily.

John Endicott
Reply to  griff
September 28, 2020 5:35 am

no griff, you don’t have the science, you have the political class, the activists pretending to be scientists, and the politized “Summary for Policymakers” on your side. You wouldn’t know the actual science if you tripped over it and it bit you in your arse.

September 26, 2020 10:22 am

My nightmares are similar to reading this 555 page bill and amendments, while I fall and trip and this monster made out of red tape slowly wraps itself around my neck and strangles me. Death by bureaucracy. Followed closely by insurance. These will help contribute to the end of civilization as we know it, making everything nearly impossible and so expensive as to have the opposite effect of getting anything built. Why bother? May as well go pitch my tent in the park. I don’t think I will bother building anything new ever again even though I could easily afford to. Who needs all this extra hassle and hoops to jump through?

Reply to  Earthling2
September 26, 2020 10:54 am

I’m currently reading through an RFP for a states Medicaid system. This document covers all of the requirement and regulations for the entire Medicaid system for that state. It’s only 545 pages long.

September 26, 2020 1:45 pm

They can just print more money. What’s the problem?

September 26, 2020 2:53 pm

The proper way to do it is to show an entire section and then, by cross-outs and insertions, illustrate the changes, but that would be too easy to follow. — No, no, no!!!! You NEVER EVER do anything the EASY way if it’s gubmint stuff. You add in as much gobbledygook as you can think of, add dozens to hundreds of misspelled words, over-wrought phrases and sentences of extraordinary length that need no explanation other than “twaddle” attached to them.

The entire purpose of these things is pad someone’s pocket on a pay-by-word basis, which is why you end up with a document that is unintelligible and makes you want to throw it into the nearest sewer drain – where it would clog up the system for eternity and make a home for rats to use.

No, you must not think in terms of simplicity, or you’ll NEVER EVER get that grant money that you so desperately want so that you can spend two years writing one page per day for $1/page, and send that in for another humongous grant.

That’s how it works.

Kyle in Upstate NY
September 26, 2020 6:58 pm

To be fair, Pelosi’s saying we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it was taken out of context. When read in context, she was saying that we have to pass it so that the Americsn people can see all the wonderful things that are in it.

Reply to  Kyle in Upstate NY
September 27, 2020 6:19 am

I watched her say it, live, with some people around her, their eyes bugged out. Her own people, they had no idea she was going to say something that braindead on a live feed. Too f****ing funny.

John Endicott
Reply to  2hotel9
September 28, 2020 5:28 am

They were just surprised she would admit in public what they all knew behind closed doors. That these large bills are too big, and too stuffed with pork, for any one person to know what exactly are in them until they’ve been passed (at which point it becomes too late to do anything about it).

September 26, 2020 9:54 pm

Trump has so many battles to fight he will barely have time to reload.

Reply to  Zane
September 27, 2020 6:20 am

Thats why I sent him my phased plasma rifle in 40w range. Just keeps on keeping on!

John Endicott
September 28, 2020 5:31 am

“Bi-partisan” leftist bills simply means the democrats found a few RINOs to sign on-board. Sadly they don’t need to look far to find a few RINOs, as the swamp is filled with them.

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