GrowSmart Maine Testifies in favor of LD 977, “An Act To Restore Uniformity to the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code”

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in favor of LD 977,
“An Act To Restore Uniformity to the Maine Uniform Building and
Energy Code”
March 28, 2013


Senator Patrick,  Representative Herbig and members of the Joint Standing Committee on  Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development.  My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places.

As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well-grounded proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description.

I bring two distinct perspectives to this legislation.  First, the legislation creating MUBEC and determining the population threshold for enforcement came through the former BRED committee during my eight-year tenure on the committee.  I believe we found the right balance for Maine.  This was an intense process, but the final outcome was a good solid piece of legislation, and I am proud to have been a part of its creation. 

It was so significant, as a matter of fact, that an article authored by myself and my then co-chair Sen. Lynn Bromley appeared in a national trade magazine for retail lumber dealers, attached here.

Second, in my current role with GrowSmart Maine, I’ll point out that a statewide building code is a priority recommendation of ChartingMaine's Future, our 2006 report by the Brookings Institute.  Pages 119-122 are devoted to this issue.

From both of these viewpoints, I support the original implementation plan of MUBEC, with the population threshold of 2,000 and both energy and building codes harmonized into a single set of codes.  I’m attaching to this testimony GrowSmart Maine’s 2011 testimony in opposition to the bill that would have repealed MUBEC as I believe it provides appropriate context for today’s hearing.

The original strategy was effective in reducing the cost of doing business in Maine by setting a single, consistent performance standard for building contractors throughout the state, with a harmonized set of applicable codes.  It just makes sense.

Thank you for the opportunity to present these remarks.