Wednesday, August 12, 2009

OPINION: Cap and Trade

By Rachael Butts

A Ticking Time Bomb or No Big Deal?

You may be like many millions of Americans, thinking that the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as House Resolution 2454 has little to do with you, is just a way to help the world fight climate change and reduce energy waste.

What you may not know is, to what degree this legislation may affect you and your clients. President Obama himself predicts energy prices to "skyrocket".

My letter to you today has nothing to do with politics. It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. You are a real estate licensee and I think it is important for you to know what is buried in this voluminous bill just passed by the House and on it's way to the Senate.

I have many concerns about this bill, but this letter pertains specifically to Section 304. Even the section is huge, but here are some of the items that will affect homeowners, if this bill in it's present form is passed.

The program requires that states label their buildings so that we can all know how efficient every building (residential and non-residential) is. It requires that the information be made public.

The state will be empowered to inspect your home if you want to:

1) renovate your house in any way that requires a building permit,

2) sell your house, or

3) change the name of the person getting a utility bill.

How they will enforce this new law and penalize homeowners includes the use of liens against the property. They will be able to require homeowners to bring their homes into "compliance" before liens are removed. Compliance could include insulation, windows, electrical systems, lighting, appliances, etc.

To me, this bill seems very similar to what the Sun City HOA tried to do to their homeowners last year, but much more extensive, punitive and on a national scale. The HOA effort was defeated. but defeating a bill already passed in the House and now in the Senate on a fast track for passage is much more daunting.

What I am most surprised about is the apparent silence from NAR. Perhaps they are working behind the scenes, but I haven't heard a peep from them. Have you?

I encourage you to research this yourself and come to your own conclusions. There are many websites that can help you decide what you should do. After you have studied this yourself, please email me with your thoughts. Personally, this is very scary stuff and Orwellian in nature. Perhaps I'm overreacting. What do you think?

Sorry for the long article, but I thought it important to bring this to your attention in time to voice your opinion to your representatives, either in support or opposition before this becomes law.

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