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DOE refuses public hearing on a proposal that could gut US appliance standards


DOE refuses public hearing on a proposal that could gut US appliance standards

By Andrew deLaski, Executive Director, Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP)

The Department of Energy (DOE) has quietly issued a proposal that could seriously undermine US energy efficiency standards for many appliances and products — everything from air conditioners and refrigerators to light bulbs and electric motors. Last month, it proposed a rule that would allow individual manufacturers to secretly opt out of testing requirements.

Who would lose out? Competitors who play by the rules and the consumers and businesses unknowingly saddled with purchases that fail to meet minimum standards, wasting energy and money.

The proposal, which would change how manufacturers can be exempted from federal test procedure requirements, caught energy efficiency supporters and manufacturers alike by surprise. In response, ASAP and nine other organizations that participate in DOE’s regulatory processes requested a public meeting for DOE to better explain the proposal and receive input.

DOE had always allowed for public meetings on proposed test procedure changes for specific products in the past. Surely, a proposal that would affect every product’s test procedure and compliance would merit the enhanced scrutiny of a public meeting. To our shock, DOE staff refused. Twice…

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