May 19, 2010

Doyle vetoes bill to promote green buildings

A bill that would have applied green building standards to public projects died Wednesday when Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the proposal.

State Rep. Louis Molepske Jr., D-Stevens Point, chided members of Doyle's administration for not raising concerns about the bill while the Legislature was in session this year. Molepske was an author of the bill.

The bill, which passed through the state Senate and Assembly, would have required public building additions, renovations and new construction of at least 10,000 square feet be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standards. The bill would have affected state, municipal and school district projects.

"Unfortunately, what seemed to have happened in this case was the bureaucracy won," Molepske said, "and it was bureaucracy who failed to come to the table who sank the ship here."

In a veto letter sent to lawmakers, Doyle called the bill 'unworkable.' The veto message focused on a requirement in the bill that, by 2015, the state achieve U.S. Green Building Council standards for 15 percent of the state's total building space, either owned or leased.

A requirement to dedicate all building program money toward the 15 percent goal would have crippled the state's building program, according to the veto message.

Although the bill had a laudable goal of promoting green building, it could have frozen spending on University of Wisconsin System projects, said David Giroux, executive director of communications and external relations for the UW System. Whether that was the intention or not, he said, the bill could have been misinterpreted.

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