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MUBEC one step ahead - LD1416 will take it two steps back

You've heard from us quite a bit over the last few weeks because we know you care about the things that matter most to Maine. Your help this Legislative Session has been crucial in passing the Historic Preservation Tax Credit extension, in stopping the return of billboards to our highways and just today, the Maine Senate enacted LD 1253, which greatly improves the existing uniform building code.

There is still one hurdle left for MUBEC to overcome. LD 1416 has come out of committee with a majority report of "ought to pass as amended" with several additional committee members now supporting the minority "ought not to pass" report. What does this mean for Maine? If LD1416 passes, no longer will every Maine town have consistent building and energy codes. No longer will there be a cost savings for builders and developers with a consistent regulatory process. No longer will all Mainers be guaranteed energy-efficient, safe, cost-saving new homes and commercial buildings. Finally, passage of this bill may cost Maine tens of millions of dollars in federal energy grants already awarded.

If you contacted your Legislator to support LD 1253 - we thank you. We now need you to continue to ask them to reject LD 1416. This bill is expected to come to the floor for a vote any day now. Please contact your Legislators today. Here's how.

Thank you.

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from: GrowSmart Maine

date: 4:49 PM, Tue, May 31, 2011

subject: Maine's Statewide Building and Energy Code is at Risk

 

This week, the future of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code (MUBEC) is at stake. MUBEC will be the focus of debate and votes in the House and Senate, as two very different bills move forward.

We urge you to contact your State Representative and Senator to ask them to support the statewide uniform building and energy code that just went into effect last December. To support a consistent, statewide building code that reduces costs to consumers and reduces uncertainty and development costs for builders and developers, ask them to support LD 1253 and reject LD 1416.

Here's what's going on:

The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code matters to Maine because it reduces costs to consumers by ensuring buildings meet minimum standards for safe, healthy, energy-efficient construction and reduce our energy costs and our dependence on heating oil. It also reduces the cost of doing business in Maine by creating a consistent, reasonable, coordinated set of building codes across the state.

LD 1253 makes significant improvements to MUBEC and how it is implemented. This bill received a unanimous vote from the committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, and Business Development, which has dealt with building codes for many years.

LD 1416, on the other hand, was heard in the Committee on State and Local Government – a committee that has never before worked on building codes. LD 1416 would make a building code optional for most towns, thus undermining the statewide code. It would move Maine backward to a system of “model codes” that we know from experience didn’t provide uniformity for builders, consumer protection, or energy efficient homes. “Opt in” simply doesn't work. The bill would also put at risk tens of millions of dollars of federal grants from the Department of Energy that Maine qualified for when MUBEC was adopted. Lastly, LD 1416 would make Maine one of only 10 states that lack a true statewide code, thus discouraging investment in the state and reducing predictability for builders working across Maine.

One of the great successes of MUBEC is that it is a uniform code; no longer are there conflicts between multiple codes, such as the Fire Warden's code and the Historic Preservation code – it’s all in one! MUBEC also creates a minimum standard for energy conservation which must be implemented statewide, because we have some of the oldest housing stock in the nation, and we are among the most dependent on oil for heating.

A statewide code provides consumer protection and cost savings while ensuring predictability and an easier regulatory environment for builders and developers—it needs to remain a statewide code.

Please contact your Legislators in Augusta and tell them you support LD 1253 and reject LD 1416. Here’s how.