The N.C. House of Representatives approved 70-43 a third and final reading of a bill that is expected to bar public projects from using the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.
The bill will now move on to be considered by the state senate.
House Bill 628 — titled Protect/Promote NC Lumber — says public projects may use “a nationally recognized high-performance environmental building rating system” if that green building program doesn’t use a credit system “disadvantaging materials or products manufactured or produced” in North Carolina.
Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg) said during debate on the House floor Monday evening that the bill would prevent the state from using the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.
“Will it make LEED ineligible?” Samuelson asked. “The answer is yes.”
She unsuccessfully fought for the bill to be killed because of the potential risk to the green-building industry. In particular, Samuelson cited the affects to Nucor Corp. among companies that could be harmed. The Charlotte-based steel company (NYSE:NUE) supports the use of LEED.
Rep. Samuelson said her research found that the bill would create no new jobs, but that jobs could be lost instead.
She called the bill part of a “turf war” between the timber industry and USGBC.
LEED —the USGBC’s third-party program for vetting green-building design and construction — awards points only to projects that use wood that’s certified under the Forest Stewardship Council. Both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the American Tree Farm System have unsuccessfully fought for consideration in the LEED program.
Members of the USGBC voted against inclusion of the other rating programs. The LEED program, however, does award points for materials that come from local sources.