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Has The Energy Star Lost It's Luster?

And you think the response to Hurricane Katrina has been slow?   California has joined fourteen other states in a lawsuit against the Department of Energy over the DOE's alleged failure to update its energy efficiency standards for household and commercial appliances.  California AG Bill Lockyer claims improving the standards would reduce reliance on foreign oil.

The suit alleges that the agency is up to 13 years behind schedule.  In some instances, the suit claims, DOE has failed to issue any new efficiency standards in the last four years.  The Energy Policy and Conservation Act provides for mandatory updates of these standards, the suit claims.  The immediately previous DOE link notes that the government "periodically issues new standards or rulemakings for specific appliances."  The rule making link is no more clear.

According to this Sacramento Bee article (free registration required) written by Andrew McIntosh, "The states, which say they represent a total of 118 million Americans, decided to sue after Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman ignored a joint letter they sent him in July. The letter asked his department to respect the law and adopt a binding schedule for implementing tougher minimum standards."

Last month, the Barton-Domenici Energy Policy Act of 2005 was signed into law, which gave appliance manufacturers tax incentives for producing more energy-efficient appliances in the US, delayed the time to get an Energy Star rating for nine months and added a requirement for DOE to match state rebates for purchasing appliances (did you know the government helped fund our purchase of appliances?).  The appliance manufacturer's non-profit trade group website is here.  Apparently, the lawsuit claims tax credits wouldn't be necessary if the DOE just promulgated the required standards.

You can decide whether we're going to pay the cost one way (taxes) or another (increased purchase price).  The real question seems to be how we're going to save money on fuel prices.

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, September 09, 2005 at 08:16 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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