Groups promoting energy efficiency are outraged the Trump administration has apparently frozen the Energy Department's appliance standards program, which could cause uncertainty within the industry, an unnecessary cost to the environment, and litigation, according to a report Wednesday in The Washington Post.
The appliance standards program establishes rules governing the energy consumption levels of many household and industrial appliances, such as refrigerators and dishwashers.
As part of former President Barack Obama's extensive climate policies, he finalized more than 40 new standards, each of which lowered energy use, as well as cutting customer expenses and greenhouse gas emissions.
But a handful of these rules were not finalized during the Obama administration, such as one for portable air conditioners and another for commercial boilers, and President Donald Trump has not progressed them since taking office.
Several environmental groups in coalition with states are suing to get these rules finalized, saying they would save consumers $24 billion over 30 years.
But Trump pausing the finalization of these standards appears to have reached a new level, as his regulatory czar Neomi Rao listed a large number of potential energy-efficiency measures as "long-term actions," meaning they are "items under development but for which the agency does not expect to have a regulatory action within the 12 months after publication."
Appliance Standards Awareness Project executive director Andrew DeLaski told the Post the Trump administration has already missed several deadlines and appears likely to stonewall indefinitely.
Industry groups that closely watch the standards program also want it to continue in a regular and orderly way, although they are less worried about the delays.
"I think we're probably willing to give them a little more latitude than our friends in the environmental community," said Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute vice president for public affairs Francis Dietz.
He added, however, "We have a limit, too. If you get to a point where you're too behind, then we would want to rectify that. But right now, we're not overly alarmed by it."
Lauren Urbanek, an energy policy advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, stressed it is ironic one of the standards being delayed involves refrigerators.
"Since the standards program went into effect, refrigerators use about a quarter of what they had used in the '70s, and they're generally about 20 percent bigger and they cost about half the cost of what you could get in the '70s," she said. "And that's all thanks to the standards program."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.