Federal Regulators Sued Over PACE Rulings
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the nation’s leading nonprofit environmental groups, filed a federal lawsuit this week accusing two national regulatory agencies of illegally blocking implementation of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs.
PACE financing, which has been authorized in more than 20 states, is an innovative financial model in which homeowners borrow funds to pay for a wide range of energy improvements, and repay the funds via a special assessment on their property taxes. The suit was filed in response to recent federal rulings that have effectively prevented homeowners and home buyers from obtaining mortgages on properties with energy improvement liens that are senior to mortgage debt.
The defendants in the suit are the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees the two government-sponsored home mortgage companies known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates the national banking system. The NRDC contends that the two agencies issued rulings regarding PACE financing without justification and without following proper protocol as required by law.
“Federal housing regulators are standing in the way of programs that make clean energy projects affordable for homeowners and lower electricity bills,” said Katherine Kennedy, Energy Counsel at NRDC. “It defies common sense that the federal government is blocking programs that could create jobs, jumpstart our economy, put money in homeowners’ pockets, and fight climate change at the same time. Instead of shutting them down, the federal government should help these programs grow.”
Read the full text of the complaint online at www.docs.nrdc.org/energy/files/ene_10100601a.pdf.