“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a “Notice of Data Availability and Request for Information” (“Notice”) regarding its previously dormant manufactured housing energy conservation standards rulemaking in the August 3, 2018 edition of the Federal Register (see copy attached),” said the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
“The DOE Notice seeks information and comments on possible alternatives to the horrific proposed manufactured housing energy rule previously published by DOE on June 17, 2016,” said MHARR in a statement to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.
“To refresh your recollection, this rulemaking was initiated in response to language contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) which purported to shift responsibility for manufactured housing energy standards from HUD to DOE. This directive – which lacks any substantive basis and is totally unnecessary – as demonstrated by Census Bureau data showing that manufactured housing energy costs are either lower than, or comparable to those of other types of homes, has consistently been opposed by MHARR, which was successful in stopping the imposition of such damaging and discriminatory standards at least three times over the past decade,” per MHARR’s statement.
“Each time, though, the rulemaking proceeding was revived with the assistance and cooperation of some in the industry,” said MHARR.
That “some” is MHARR’s thinly veiled code for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). MHI promoted costly energy standards that per the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) “priced out” study would have cost the industry hundreds of thousands of potential customers. After months of push-back by MHARR, MHProNews, and other third parties, MHI finally did a U-turn on their position.
“The most recent DOE activity, the January 2017 proposed rule, was the product of a fundamentally tainted and arguably scandalous “negotiated rulemaking” which MHARR vehemently opposed, and was ultimately rejected by the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in late 2016,” said MHARR.
“That proposal was subsequently withdrawn by the Trump Administration on January 31, 2017, after MHARR cast the only “no” vote against the proposed rule within the DOE Manufactured Housing Energy Standards Work Group and emphatically opposed the proposed rule in written comments to DOE and direct meetings with senior DOE and OIRA officials,” the Washington, D.C. based MHARR said to MHProNews.
“Unfortunately, after declaring the manufactured housing energy rulemaking “inactive” in the Fall 2017 Federal Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda (SRA), DOE — apparently pressured by litigation filed in late December 2017 in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. by the special interest Sierra Club – has now revived this manufactured housing rulemaking proceeding once again.” MHProNews previously reported on that Sierra Club suit, at the article linked below.
“While the Notice offers certain clues as to the possible direction that DOE may be pursuing, it will require extremely thorough study and an extremely strong response to prevent the imposition of debilitating and discriminatory energy standards on federally-regulated manufactured homes that could potentially exclude millions of moderate and lower-income Americans from the HUD Code manufactured housing market and the only type of non-subsidized home ownership that they can afford,” the D.C. based trade group said.
“MHARR will carefully examine the DOE Notice and will respond in a strong and thorough manner consistent with its previous activity on this rulemaking. By copy of this package, MHARR is urging others in the industry to further oppose any such rule. MHARR will prepare and submit written comments on this matter soon, and will make those comments available to all HUD Code industry members,” said MHARR adding that: comments in response to the Notice must be filed with DOE on or before September 17, 2018.
Comments should include RE: EERE–2009–BT– BC–0021 in the subject line of the message. Those comments can be sent as follows.
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Email: to Manufactured_Housing@ ee.doe.gov. Include EERE–2009–BT– BC–0021 in the subject line of the message.
- Postal Mail: Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office, Mailstop EE–5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585–0121. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (CD), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.
As MHARR noted – and MHProNews has previously reported – the cost per unit could grow $6,000 or more per unit, if the previously supported standards by MHI are enacted. Research suggests that the typical family can’t recoup that cost during the timeframe that the normal home owner lives in their new home. The bottom line is this would cost the industry sales, and would cost thousands annually the opportunity to stop renting, and start owning.
It’s your industry, and sales to your potential customers who may not be able to qualify that are the issue. What too few discuss in this regard is that consumers can already upgrade their energy standards, with a variety of HUD Code builders. Why not allow consumers the right to choose? “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)
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