While last week brought good news to energy efficiency advocates with the reintroduction of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (otherwise known as Shaheen-Portman) in the U.S. Senate, not-so-good news for LEED advocates came out of Ohio. Last Wednesday, the Ohio State Senate passed Ohio Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 (SCR 25) which, as previously reported, asserts that LEED v4 should no longer be used by Ohio state agencies and government entities. It was introduced in the Ohio State House of Representatives the next day.
Days before the vote, Tyler J. Steele, vice chairman of the USGBC's Central Ohio chapter wrote in an editorial in The Columbus Dispatch that "Ohio’s leading association of sustainability-minded construction professionals implores legislators to reject any resolution that could jeopardize our efforts to continue transforming central Ohio's built environment to be more healthy, prosperous and sustainable."
Treehugger's Lloyd Alter has a passionate review of the latest developments, charging that the legislation is the work of special interests for the plastics and chemical companies, and that it is openly biased toward the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes rating system.
When I asked GBI president Jerry Yudelson about the Ohio legislation, however, he said that the organization does not take positions on legislation. "Our philosophy is that there should be choice in the marketplace," he said. "We think the consensus process we use has a lot of advantages in that it gets everyone lined up and going in the same direction, but it's not about excluding one system or another. Let the marketplace choose."
Having previously mobilized a grassroots campaign in Ohio in response to SCR 25's initial introduction, USGBC is now encouraging LEED advocates in Ohio to contact their state Representative and tell them via one-on-one meetings, written testimony, social media posts, phone calls, or emails to vote no on any further progression.