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Washington’s Building Code not preempted by federal conservation act

When someone uses the defense of preemption, it means that a law is not valid because federal law does not allow states or local governments to regulate an area of the law.  Federal law trumps state law if the defense is successful because the federal government has reserved the right to regulate a particular matter.   Builders used this argument to attack the state of Washington’s building code. The Building Industry Association of Washington along with individual builders and contractors recently challenged the State of Washington’s Building Code, contending that the State’s 2009 requirement that new building construction meet heightened energy conservation goals was preempted by federal law, specifically The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 . The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the state of Washington had satisfied EPCA’s conditions, and therefore was not preempted. The court found that the Washington Building Code satisfies the conditions Congress established for enforcement of state and local building codes consistent with federal energy law. This is an important decision that gives local jurisdictions a voice in reaching energy conservation goals. The case can be found at 2012 WL 2369304.

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