Alternative Energy Bills die in Minerals Committee

By on August 14, 2009
Alternative Energy Bills Die in Minerals Committee

I introduced two bills in the 2009 Wyoming Legislative Session that dealt with alternative energy.  Both bills died in the House Minerals Committee. 

One was House Bill 28 which you can read at HB 28 Text

This bill would have provided a sales tax exemption for hybrids and for vehicles that run on natural gas or other alternative sources.  The bill also provided a property tax exemption if you installed alternative energy sources on your home (solar, geothermal, etc.)

I did a lot of research on this bill and I actually had some amendments to suggest to the House Minerals Committee to address some of the concerns that I had heard about the bill.  However, the bill was never heard in Minerals Committee.

The other bill was House Bill 81 which you can read at HB 81 Text

This bill started as a mandatory requirement that all public buildings including schools had to be LEED certified (green building council certification).  This was seen as too extreme, so I morphed it into a voluntary system in which the government entity would have to submit plans to the Wyoming Energy Office in Cheyenne to obtain approval.  And if they were not LEED compliant, then they were still allowed to build, but they had to submit a written explanation as to why they were not proceeding as a LEED building.  I was already disappointed that I had watered it down so much, but even with the watering down, I couldn’t get it heard in the House Minerals Committee.  It too died without a hearing. 

The State Energy Office has some great data on the new Greybull Elementary School and the Laramie County Public Library.  Both were LEED certified and the data is now showing some amazing energy cost savings to those particular government entities.  The Laramie County Public Library is the library of the year for the nation.  It is really nice.  It even has a coffee shop in it. 

The U.S. Green Building Council sent me a nice letter thanking me for my efforts, and I assured them that I would try again next year.  In their letter they state that 31 state governments have joined 12 Federal agencies and 175 localities in endorsing the nationally accepted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating system as their state’s benchmark for evaluating proposed and existing buildings.   Hopefully, if we keep trying, Wyoming will soon the ranks of environmentally and fiscally responsible governments that recognize that high performance green buildings are one of the cornerstones of a strong economy.

Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2009 9:43 PM

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