(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee continued its series of climate hearings on Thursday by slamming the Energy Department for not moving forward in implementing congressionally-mandated energy conservation standards for washers, dryers and other appliances.
“In the last two years, the Energy Department has blown through 16 legally-mandated deadlines to finalize standards for appliances,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the chairman of the committee. The standards require manufacturers to sell products that consume less energy, thus helping to contribute to lower emissions.
Instead of moving forward and updating the efficiency standards, Pallone said, the agency has spent most of its time dismantling regulations, and is currently crafting a draft rule to get rid of efficiency standards for light bulbs, which are projected to save the average household $100 a year in 2025.
DOE’s ‘disrespectful’ response
In requesting an update last year, Pallone said the Energy Department sent him a three-line response with internet links. He called it one of the most “disrespectful” responses he has ever received from an agency. He resent the letter last month, and although more accommodating, the response left a lot unanswered on the 16 standards that are legally mandated.
Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said he is committed to completing the standards, but not in the next six months. He said there are stringent requirements under the law to follow in developing the standards that will take them time.
Pallone was unconvinced, saying “it just seems to me you’re not going to follow the law.”
Major cuts coming in budget
The hearing comes as media outlets reported on Thursday that the forthcoming fiscal year 2020 budget would slash the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 70 percent, from $2.3 billion to $700 million.
Simmons told the committee he would not speak to those reports.