NHLA supports senators concerns about EPA policy

The organization says the WaterSense Single Family New Homes Specification fails to recognize the positive attributes of turf.

June 14, 2011
Industry News

WASHINGTON – The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance issues the following statements in support of a letter from Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, expressing their concerns with the outdoor criteria of the WaterSense Single Family New Homes Specification:

“Our Association is grateful to Senators Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson, James Inhofe and Lamar Alexander for their recognition that the current EPA policy fails to recognize the many positive environmental attributes of turf, including oxygen generation, carbon sequestration, storm water run-off abatement, and ambient temperature reduction among others, and in doing so is causing harm to the environment and killing jobs.”
-    Jesus “Chuy” Medrano, president of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance.

“Our members are alarmed that private companies, public sector bodies, and others like the International Code Council are rushing to adopt these flawed EPA guidelines and implement them into building codes and standards, putting at risk a quarter of a million jobs held by Hispanic-Americans throughout the US.”
-    Ralph Egües, Jr., executive director of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance.

As part of the Alliance’s broader effort, NHLA Treasurer Mark Dominguez addressed the Commissioners and staff of the International Code Council (ICC), in an effort to dissuade them from adopting a turf limitation policy based on EPA WaterSense in its International Green Construction Code. Dominguez, a full-time landscape professional himself, described the adverse affects the criteria would have on the environment and the company he works for.

“We experience how much cooler it is in the summer on turf. Office parks and residential areas with abundant lawns are also less dusty and less prone to flooding. These are the things we see and feel every day, as we make the communities we serve better. Of course there are things we can’t see, like the air we breathe. Many of the suburban homes across this country have lawns large enough to produce sufficient oxygen for a family of four to live. What is more critical to human life than oxygen and what is more sustainable than producing your own? We urge this body not to adopt criteria that will cause ecological harm and that will put hundreds of thousands of landscape contractors out of work.”
-    Mark Dominguez, treasurer of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, at the International Code Council hearings in Dallas on May 18.