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Department of Energy Requests Fast Track Rulemaking for Implementing Energy Efficiency Standards

February 26, 2007 - 10:28am

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WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today sent legislation to Congress requesting authorization that would significantly speed up the process to establish energy efficiency standards and ultimately bring more efficient products to market sooner.  Establishing a streamlined process would be achieved through a direct final rule - bypassing needless delays, when manufacturer, stakeholder, and government consensus exists.

"If enacted, this legislation would amount to real, more immediate energy savings for Americans," Secretary Bodman said.  "We look forward to working with Congress and stakeholders to speed up the process to put into place mandatory standards that can really help raise the bar for efficiency standards."

The proposed legislation requests authority to use a more streamlined rulemaking process for certain products when a clear consensus for a standard exists.  DOE would be able to prescribe energy efficiency standards by direct final rule when all relevant interests jointly negotiate and submit an agreed proposed standard.

Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, DOE is required to set energy conservation standards for certain residential and commercial appliances and equipment.  EPACT 2005 amended EPCA to add additional residential and commercial appliances and equipment to the existing program.   The proposed legislation applies to all of the EPCA products, including those added by EPACT 2005.

Use of the proposed expedited rulemaking authority would be limited to circumstances in which, in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, representatives of relevant interests including manufacturers, efficiency advocates, and state officials, negotiate on their own initiative and submit a joint comment to DOE proposing an energy conservation standard for a product.  If the Secretary determines that the jointly proposed standard meets the substantive requirements of the law for that product, he would be authorized to publish a notice of direct final rulemaking, incorporating the recommended standard.  If there is no objection to the standard, the direct final rule would become effective 120 days after the notice is published.  If any person files a significant adverse comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) would review that comment.  The Secretary would be required to withdraw the direct final rule and move forward under the procedures of existing law, if the comments deemed by EERE were found to be significant and legally relevant.

More than 30 products could be included if legislation is enacted.  This includes a variety of home appliances such as refrigerators, central air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, clothes washers and dishwashers; as well as smaller, home equipment including ceiling fans, torchiers, dehumidifiers, and fluorescent and incandescent lights.  Also covered, would be plumbing equipment, including showerheads, faucets and toilets.  Commercial and industrial products that would be included in the legislation, for example, are commercial conditioners and furnaces, water heaters, commercial refrigerators and freezers and ice cream freezers.  Other products include traffic signals and pedestrian control modules.

For more information on the Department of Energy's appliance and equipment standards program visit: http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/.

For information on existing appliance standards legislation as well as a link to the Code of Federal Regulations to download a list of existing rules, visit: http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/laws_regs.html.

Direct Final Rule Bill

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens (202) 586-4940

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