Attorney General Becerra Urges Department of Energy to Restore Cost-Saving Energy Efficiency Programs
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a multistate coalition in submitting recommendations to the Department of Energy (DOE) on its rulemaking priorities. Over the past four years, DOE repeatedly failed to meet mandatory deadlines to review and update energy efficiency regulations as part of an existing process laid out by Congress in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. In the letter, the coalition urges DOE to comply with the Act’s statutory deadlines and to rescind or revise actions taken by the previous Administration which undermined the energy efficiency program and ran counter to its purposes.
“Our nation’s energy efficiency regulations are a win-win – reducing the cost of using everyday household appliances while also decreasing pollution to our environment,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We’ve got to get this critical program back on track. That starts with meeting mandatory deadlines for strengthening energy efficiency requirements and moving swiftly to reverse four years of damaging attempts to undermine existing cost-saving standards.”
Passed in 1975, the Energy Policy Conservation Act requires DOE to create energy conservation standards that benefit the public in a timely manner. Subsequent amendments by Congress put in place processes for DOE to periodically reassess energy conservation standards and the test procedures used to demonstrate compliance with them to ensure that the products available in the United States are as energy efficient as possible. DOE’s long-standing energy efficiency program has resulted in substantial economic and environmental benefits, with more than $2 trillion in projected consumer savings and 2.6 billion tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions. However, under the previous Administration, DOE’s adherence to Energy Policy Conservation Act deadlines were abysmal, with DOE instead expending its resources on various unlawful discretionary actions that Attorney General Becerra is currently challenging in court.
Shortly after taking office, the Biden Administration indicated its desire to reinvigorate the energy efficiency program and issued a request for comments on its rulemaking priorities. In the comment letter, the coalition encourages DOE to:
- Undo more than a dozen harmful rules issued by the prior Administration;
- Direct its resources toward promptly meeting its statutory duty to review and update energy efficiency standards; and
- Prioritize actions offering the biggest energy saving potential.
Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Pennsylvania, as well as the City of New York in submitting comments.
A copy of the comment letter is available here.