Several stories recently have highlighted the other side of the regulatory coin–regulations are only effective if they are enforced.
On Monday, the Department of Energy issued 27 penalty notices to companies for failure to meet energy efficiency and water conservation standards.
According to Green Wombat:
For the first time in 35 years, the United States Department of Energy is moving to enforce decades-old energy efficiency and water conservation standards for products like refrigerators, light bulbs and shower heads.
Baltidome challenged Baltimore’s enforcement of the city’s green building code with respect to a new development being considered for the city center.
Whether these enforcement actions are legitimate (Baltimore lawyer Stuart Kaplow did a little digging and reported to me that the senior policy making public official reviewing the project assured him that the project, as designed, complies with the law), it is worth discussing what impact enforcement of energy efficiency codes, building codes, tree planting regulations and open space requirements that are already on the books could have on greening the United States.
Part of the problem is that putting laws on the books is cheap, and enforcement is expensive. It requires expertise, personnel, lawyers, inspectors and so forth to make it work. In this era of contrained resources, it is nice to see that the DOE is enforcing some of its regulations. Let us hope that other regulatory bodies follow suit, like the Federal Trade Commission, which is in charge of false green advertising claims, but has only filed a handful of enforcement actions over the years.