June 26, 2008
Alecia Ward: 312-550-8460
Jim Crisp: 517-321-7500
Supreme Court ruling paves the way for new energy code, rebuffs Home Builders’ bid to thwart modern efficiency
Michigan ratepayers to save money, cut pollution and global warming emissions
The new, energy-efficient code, adopted in 2004, had been in limbo during years of legal maneuvers to block it, led by the Michigan Association of Home Builders (MAHB).
The ruling will likely mean that
Three organizations – the Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Community Action Agency Association and Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – intervened on the side of the state to protect the public’s interest in the case. Modern building codes save citizens cash on utility payments while protecting the public health and environment from pollution and global warming gasses emitted by power plants that burn fossil fuels.
“This action will result in hundreds of dollars
each year in energy savings for homeowners,” said Jim Crisp, executive director
of the Michigan Community Action Agency Association. “In the long run, it
will save the state and its citizens hundreds of millions of dollars in avoided
energy cost by slowing the rate of energy use. It is a shame we’ve had to
waste all this time in the courts when
The court rejected attempts by the Michigan Home Builders to challenge the rules with evidence that was neither developed nor presented to the state agency during the more than two-year rulemaking process. The court held that any challenge to the rules must be limited to the rulemaking record – the evidence that the agency considered when it made its decision. It paves the way for the implementation of the revised building energy code by the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG).
“We are pleased that the Michigan
Supreme Court affirmed the wide latitude of state agencies to issue rules, and
the very narrow basis to challenge government action. The decision effectively
upholds the authority of the director of DLEG to safeguard consumer interests
“Governor Granholm has been a strong advocate for smart, modern standards and it is heartening to see that her work on this issue is finally going to come to fruition,” Ward said.
In December 2004, after almost two years of a public
rulemaking, the State of
“Up until now, homeowners across the state have been denied a reasonable energy standard by the legal maneuvers of the Michigan Association of Home Builders,” said Lana Pollack, president of the Michigan Environmental Council. “The sooner this rule is implemented, the better – people across the state who just barely qualified for home ownership are struggling to pay both their rising mortgage costs and their growing energy bills because the houses they bought did not meet this standard.”