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December 01, 2009 5:00 pm ET

The following email has been widely forwarded and has been reposted numerous times on conservative blogs.  Media Matters Action Network has written a response to the text below.  Please feel free to copy and paste it and send to your friends.


[note - all mistakes below are original to the text]


It's completely understandable that this email would scare you - this stuff is insane.

Insane, but totally wrong.  For one thing, that link at the end just goes to a Google search.  It doesn't mean anything.

First, (independent and nonpartisan) says the bill doesn't apply to existing homes:

It's true that the bill sets new national efficiency standards for new residential and commercial buildings. It calls for buildings to be 30 percent more efficient by 2012, and 50 percent more efficient beginning in 2014. It ultimately calls for buildings to be 75 percent more efficient by 2029. But those efficiency benchmarks apply only to homes constructed after the bill becomes law, not currently existing ones.

We found no requirement for energy audits or energy-efficiency inspections in the bill, either...

Owners of existing homes would be able to get energy audits if they wish, and if they volunteer for programs established by the bill, such as the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program. That program would provide federal funds to states to encourage homeowners to reduce energy consumption. According to the bill, the purpose of REEP is to "facilitate the retrofitting of existing buildings across the United States to achieve maximum cost-effective energy efficiency improvements and significant improvements in water use and other environmental attributes." But facilitating energy efficiency improvements is not the same thing as requiring them.

If you have some time, I'd recommend you read the rest of their post here:

I found another site called that has a "truth-o-meter" rating system, and their rating for this email is "Pants On Fire"!!!  (Don't worry, they go after Democrats as well as Republicans)

Their fact check says:

Here's how cap-and-trade would work. Under House legislation, the target of the chain e-mail's criticism, the government would be required to set an overall cap on carbon emissions in an effort to slow climate change. More specifically, the bill aims to lower carbon pollution by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Companies would either upgrade to cleaner technologies or buy credits -- also known as allowances -- to continue polluting. Initially, most allowances would be given out free. But eventually companies would have to buy those permits from the government...

Section 204 would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a model program that states could voluntarily adopt to label new buildings for their energy performance. This "license," as the chain e-mail calls it, is only applicable to new construction and would be completely voluntary.
In fact, that's a point the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel that has jurisdiction over the cap-and-trade bill, makes over and over in its summary of the legislation: "Nothing would require a homeowner to audit or retrofit their home to ensure that it meets building code requirements," the document says...

There's nothing in the bill that would require homeowners to retrofit their homes to meet new efficiency standards or get a government "license" before putting their home on the market. Homeowners who do want to retrofit their homes can do so voluntarily and with the help of government funding. This chain e-mail gets a Pants on Fire!

The post has some additional information about the cap-and-trade bill if you're interested:

I hope this clears things up a bit. 

Talk to you soon!


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