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Mr. WICKER. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Louisiana and agree that this is a very important amendment because it addresses a number of issues that are important to American industries. In particular, the amendment specifies that the Department of Energy and the General Services Administration must allow the use of multiple green building rating systems for both commercial and residential buildings. We should avoid the situation where the Federal Government endorses one green building standard over others.
DOE and GSA ought to support competition and allow the free market to produce the best energy-efficient buildings at the lowest cost. They also ought to support the use of domestically produced materials, such as sustainable wood and green technologies.
Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I agree with the Senator from Mississippi. He and I have worked very closely together on the amendment we are talking about today, and hopefully we will get a vote on it sometime in the near future. But I am also concerned that many rating systems arbitrarily discriminate against domestically produced products based on arbitrary hazards, without consideration for risk of exposure and supporting scientific data.
Our amendment--and we have worked very carefully on this--will address this issue by requiring an ongoing review of private sector green building certification systems and allowing for the exclusion of portions of green building certification systems that are found to be discriminatory. This will not preclude efforts to exclude or reduce exposure to known environmental risks, such as radon, formaldehyde, or volatile organic compounds; however, it will ensure that the risk of exposure is not ignored.
This process will support competition among green building certification systems and encourage existing systems to revise portions of their systems that are determined to be discriminatory to domestic products.
Let me add that since many of these products that are in question come from Mississippi and Louisiana as well as other States, that is what has engaged and piqued our interest.
Mr. WICKER. Mr. President, the Senator from Louisiana is exactly correct. Basically, what we are saying is there is more than one way to get where we need to go when it comes to green buildings. This amendment is a step forward to ensure GSA's and DOE's green building policies are fair and effective.
I also wish to point out that this amendment requires the consideration of environmental impacts across the entire life cycle of a building material or product by incorporating a life-cycle assessment. This will ensure that the Federal Government is utilizing green building certification systems that are the most efficient.
I thank the Senator from Louisiana, and I wholeheartedly endorse our amendment and call on our colleagues to vote on it.
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