Wicker – Gov’t rules hurt U.S. lumber industry

The Obama administration’s effort to make government buildings more eco-friendly is drawing fire from Congress.

The recently passed 2012 Defense Authorization Act bars the Defense Department from certifying new buildings as meeting LEED Gold or Platinum status. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and Platinum are the two highest ratings given by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize environmentally sustainable construction. The Defense Department and other agencies typically strive to attain LEED status for all new facilities as part of the administration’s green government initiative.

The 2012 Defense Authorization Act — which President Obama signed into law Dec. 31 — also requires DoD to submit a report to Congress analyzing the cost-effectiveness of LEED certifications.

At issue: wood. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., argues the Defense Department’s allegiance to LEED standards discourages the use of domestic lumber.

“After completing this study, the Department of Defense should use credible standards that more accurately assess U.S. wood products,” Wicker said in an email.

Federal Times