The Conservative effort to discredit anything even remotely associated with a progressive point of view has reached a fever pitch. Rather than focus on getting anything practical accomplished, right wing politicians have instead embarked in a quest to rid America from the dire threat of green building practices.

In Kansas, there’s a bill that would outlaw anything deemed “sustainable development” because we all know stuff like solar panels and energy efficient lighting is part of a secret activist plot to take over the world. Now, North Carolina (a state that is trying to make sea level rise illegal. Think about that.) has introduced a bill that would ban the LEED green building standard because it refuses to acknowledge a forestry certification program that’s a known front for the logging industry.

LEED emblem
Image via Wikimedia Commons

As you know, wood is a big part of building. A big part of LEED is making sure that wood used to create buildings comes from sustainably logged forests. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) claims to provide such materials, but is in fact completely controlled by some of the logging industry’s worst offenders. Self-regulation is a sticky affair, and as such, the SFI is very controversial.

In fact, the only forest certification scheme acknowledged by LEED is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). And advocates of SFI (aka Big Logging) find this unfair. So they went to the USGBC, asking it to treat the SFI as an equally viable certification program even though it’s not. The USGBC voted on it, and ultimately rejected the request. This made SFI mad, so they decided to use North Carolina’s  preference for outlawing things they don’t like (aka climate change) to teach the USGBC a lesson.

“Having been defeated in the attempt to lower the standards of LEED, special interests are targeting politically friendly states in an attempt to destroy it,” reports the Environmental Paper Network. “Today they are pushing state-level legislation that bans the use of LEED in public projects.  You can read an extensive breakdown of the battles in state capitols here. This week, ground zero is North Carolina.”

It sounds absurd: “Building designs that save energy and improve indoor air quality, we don’t want that around these parts!” But before you laugh, consider that last week, Florida  a bill passed that blocked LEED certification because of this same issue.

Are you a resident of North Carolina? Contact your representative on this issue through an advocacy page set up by the North Carolina Green Building Council, and tell them to keep LEED free of corporate greenwashing.

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