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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CAP AND TRADE TAX BILL: Scalise: 'We're Setting Up A Global Warming Gestapo!'

Section 201 of this cap and trade energy tax creates a national building code, something that we don't have in place today. If you look across the country right now, 30 states have their own state building codes. A number of states actually go even to the local level where they have codes that are based on different cities or different parishes or counties. 

Just to use Louisiana, for an example, right after Hurricane Katrina, we -- our legislature passed a statewide building code. We didn't have one before. We created a statewide building code, and we took into account in our code the various segmented differences between regions of our state. In fact, the code is different in South Louisiana where our main threats are hurricanes and flooding, much different than they are in the northern part of the state of Louisiana, where tornados are a bigger threat. 

And so if you look at the fact that thirty states have these types of statewide codes, this bill in section 201 creates a federal code that would trump, throw out all of those state building codes that have been worked on for years in many cases. We worked on ours for months, just for our state's code. Here, with really no debate, we're creating a federal code that trumps all of the states' codes and in some cases would actually lower the standards that states have for building.

And if you go back to why we have building codes and why states have done this, the purpose typically is to protect safety and health. Safety and health have always been the main driving factors behind a building code. What this bill does in Section 201, it's literally taking global warming, and using global warming to trump safety and health. Because now, if I'm in South Louisiana, and I want to rebuild after hurricane damage -- which by the way we had 120,000 homes in Louisiana that had more than 50 percent damage due to Hurricane Katrina -- under this bill in section 201, when people are rebuilding those 120,000 homes, they would have to follow the federal building code, and in many cases that would mean they can't use the same types of strength that they might want to use in their windows. They might want to use stronger windows because they don't want the storm to blow out their windows. But under this bill, a federal standard could say their windows are out of the federal code.

And then what does that mean? Let's go to the bill and look at the penalties. Because there are actually civil penalties in this bill. We're actually creating a global warming police. To page 235: "The Secretary may set and collect reasonable inspection fees to cover the costs of inspections required." So number one, they can come in, the federal government can come in and inspect your house and send you the bill. And if they find that you're out of compliance with this new federal code, "The Secretary shall assess a civil penalty for violations of this section." And then further to page 236: "Each day of unlawful occupancy shall be considered a separate violation." We're setting up a global warming gestapo that can literally come in and now this new term, "unlawful occupancy." Now living in your home is considered unlawful under this bill.

This is ludicrous.

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