Rapp Amendment Shields PA Timber Products from Being Axed Under New Green Schools Building Standard
5/5/2009
Two days before co-chairing a House Republican Policy Committee hearing focusing on protecting private property rights of oil producers and other job-creating industries located in Allegheny National Forest, Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) successfully amended legislation (House Bill 689), which provides incentives for school districts to construct cleaner and more energy-efficient buildings, to ensure that all Pennsylvania wood products are eligible for tax credits and other exemptions under the Green Building Standard.
 
“It is counter-productive for government to adopt any rating system promoting environmentally friendly building that openly discriminates against Pennsylvania wood products, which are arguably the greenest, least environmentally harmful and most renewable natural resources available,” said Rapp.   “Without this amendment, wood products produced by Pennsylvania timber companies independently certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program standard or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) would be ineligible for any tax credits or other green building for school incentives provided by House Bill 689.    As these are the two largest sustainable forest management systems in the United States, House Bill 689 as originally written would have effectively banned Pennsylvania’s approximately 143,154 acres of timber certified by the SFI program and another 285, 523 acres certified under the ATFS system from the 21st century green building marketplace.” 
 
Approved on April 29, Rapp’s amendment removes all references to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) ratings system from House Bill 689 and replaces them with references to the “Green Building Standard.”   This is to ensure that multiple green standards such as LEEDS and Green Globes, which are currently recognized for additional construction reimbursements under the Pennsylvania Public School Code, are also included in the proposed green building construction cost exemption provided by House Bill 689.
 
The Legislation is currently before the full Pennsylvania House awaiting consideration.
 
“I sponsored this amendment not just to protect the best interests of Northwestern Pennsylvania timber industries, but all Pennsylvania employers who produce pulp, paper, packaging and countless other everyday wood products,” said Rapp.    “Pennsylvania’s forest-related manufacturers boast an annual payroll of more than $3 million and account for $185 million of state and local tax dollars. It makes absolutely no sense for government to impose another competitive disadvantage on an industry that contributes so much to our state and local economies by excluding most wood products from new school construction or any other Green Building Standard construction project.”
 
Rep. Kathy Rapp
65th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(814) 723-5203
www.RepRapp.com
Contact: Ty McCausling
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9979