So there has been a number of emails circulating that have caught my attention regarding HR 2454, a cap and trade bill.  The nonsense they are spreading is not based on fact, and it worries me that so many people take what an email says at face value.  I went and read the actual bill, and here is my take on it.  I encourage everyone to read what I have to say, then go read the pertinent parts of the bill for yourself.

The main issue that these emails are addressing is that HR 2454 will require all homes to be measured and stickered to show their energy efficiency.  Additionally, the email says that in order to sell your home, you will have to retrofit it to meet increasingly tougher energy standards.
I don’t read it that way.  If you go read it (the actual bill, not what some random website says) you’ll certainly agree.
 
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h2454pcs.txt.pdf
 
Go start on page 376 of 1428.  This talks about the labeling program.  Go read it, it basically says that they are establishing standards by which you can rate particular buildings.  It does not say every building must be labled, and going one step further, it does not say every building will need to be inspected on a regular basis.
It says they are going to establish a base line for energy use for particular buildings so they can measure the energy savings of various upgrades.  Here’s the quote from the email circulating – “This means that within 5 years 90% of all residential homes in the U.S. must be measured and labeled.”  Is that how you read this section?  Not me.
 
That brings us to the retrofit nonsense.  Again, nothing in here says every building must be retrofitted to sell it.  It does say they will introduce new standards, but these standards are for new buildings.  Retrofits will be voluntary, and the bill discusses how they will get people to voluntarily retrofit their homes.  Plans for this include (page 362 for residential) incrementally larger incentives based on how much energy your retrofit saves.  They will be using the baselines they come up with as described in the above paragraph of mine to help assess your energy consumption savings.
 
See, this is one of the problems with the internet.  Just because it is online doesn’t make it true.  You know that old game telephone, right?  It works the same way in the real world with real people, and even better in the real world with the internet where anyone can post their opinion, stated as fact, and others belive it.
 
I don’t see anywhere in the bill where it says it is mandatory for homeowners to conform to the new standards, nor do I see anywhere where it says homeowners will have to retrofit their homes before selling.  If you can find such language, I’d love to see it, but I don’t think it is there (and I read the thing).  It basically sounds like people believing what other people say instead of reading it for themselves.  It’s a long bill, but you can find most of what these guys are talking about near the two page numbers I cited.  Here is a link to the body of the email I am making reference to:
 
http://mediamattersaction.org/emailchecker/200909160002
 
Go back and read the bill, then go read with this editorial says.  Makes me wonder what bill this guy was reading.  Hopefully it was not the same bill, as if it was, his interpretation of it is way off IMO.  Anyone who reads the actual bill (not just skims it, but reads it) should be able to see right through this nonsense.  It kind of makes me laugh, as in the opening of his editorial, he says “The House passed it without reading and it is in the Senate now.”, again, it makes me wonder what he is reading.

In short, I urge everyone to read up on what they are forming an opinion about.  In this age of mass media, it is real easy to allow someone else to form your opinion.  The downside of this is that basing your opinion on research that others have done (or have not done) can lead to faulty assumptions.  Don’t believe what others tell you, go read things for yourself and form a solid opinion for yourself!

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