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Ohio Moves Closer to Banning LEED's Green Building Standards
Ohio is one step closer to banning the nation's premier green building evaluation process from rating its properties.
The Ohio Senate on Wednesday passed Ohio Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 (SCR 25), which would prohibit the use of the LEED v4 green building rating system on public buildings in the state if it gets approval from the state's House of Representatives and is signed by Gov. John Kasich. While denouncing LEED as a viable rating system, the resolution's creators—Sen. Joe Uecker (R-14) and Tim Schaffer (R-31)—says that the state needs to adopt standards that are based on procedures approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Chemical, plastic and timber companies and consortiums with deep pockets and influence in Washington reside under the ANSI umbrella. They have tried to get LEED banned at the federal level and have been successful in states like Maine and Georgia. Those same groups support the Green Building Initiative's (GBI) Green Globes—the set of standards they hope will replace LEED everywhere since their companies rarely, if ever, receive recognition from LEED.
Ohio leads the nation with more than 100 LEED-certified schools, but a resolution approved by the state Senate could ban the green building rating system from public properties.
"Seeking to drag Ohio backward is a small but well-funded set of industry special interests," Tyler Steele, chairman of USGBC’s Central Ohio Chapter, wrote in a letter to the Columbus Dispatch days before the Ohio Senate made its decision. "They claim that the newest version of LEED might dent their profits by encouraging use of building materials that disclose what they’re made of.
"Why are they so scared of people knowing what’s in their products?"
Ohio did not make the top 10 list of states with the most LEED-certified buildings, but the state boasts the country's most LEED-certified schools. According to the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, which created LEED, Ohio’s LEED-certified schools are 34 percent more energy efficient than other states, use 37 percent less water and have diverted almost 200,000 tons of construction waste from landfills.
Still, SCR 25 favors private rating systems, which matches Green Globes' description.
"The [USGBC's] LEED v4 green building system fails to conform to recognized voluntary standard development procedures, including but not limited to [ANSI] procedures and fails to base environmental and health criteria on risk assessment methodology," the legislation reads.
The USGBC is encouraging Ohioans to tell their representatives to vote against SCR 25.
"Ohioans deserve better than a ban on a successful building-rating system at the whim of a small but powerful group that offers no data to back up its scare tactics," Steele wrote.
Visit EcoWatch’s GREEN BUILDING page for more related news on this topic.
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Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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