09/27/2017 - Regulatory Rollback

Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products

by EELP Staff

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following. If you’re a reporter and would like to speak with an expert on this rule, please email us.

Why it Matters

The DOE sets energy efficiency standards for many consumer products. This reduces the energy use, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions of appliances sold in the US.

Current Status

Some efficiency standards finalized at the end of the Obama Administration have effective dates in the future and are proceeding. Future public hearings and comment periods for efficiency standards should be posted here

Feb. 6, 2019 The Department of Energy proposes a plan to roll back two rules that expand the types of lighting subject to higher efficiency levels, requiring the use of compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs rather than incandescent bulbs. One analysis from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project found these rules would save emissions equivalent to the emissions of more than 180 coal plants annually.

DOE will hold a public meeting on February 28, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., in Washington, D.C. on this proposal. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar, information available here. The proposal will be open for comment once published in the Federal Register. 

History

Aug. 2016 DOE issues its semi-annual report to Congress, describing recently published and upcoming efficiency standards. DOE has published a report every six months since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 first required this.

Dec. 2016 The Obama administration DOE posts final energy efficiency standards for uninterruptible power supplies, walk-in freezers, portable air conditioners, compressors, and commercial boilers. DOE then has 45 days to publish a confirmation of effective date of these standards in the federal register, which would finalize them, but the Trump administration DOE has failed to do so for each of these.

Jan. 6, 2017 DOE posts final energy efficiency standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. DOE then has 45 days to publish a confirmation of effective date of these standards in the federal register, which would finalize them, but has failed to do so.

Jan. 19, 2017 DOE posts final energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans. DOE then has 45 days to publish a confirmation of effective date of these standards in the federal register, which would finalize them, but has failed to do so.

Trump Era

Jan. 31, 2017 DOE publishes notice in the Federal Register that it is delaying the final ceiling fan standard effective date for 60 days in order to review the rule. On the same day, DOE publishes notice that it is delaying the walk-in freezer standards effective date to March 21, 2017.

March 21, 2017 DOE further delays the walk-in freezer effective date to June 26, 2017.

March 31, 2017 Nine states, New York City, and a Pennsylvania regulator petition the Second Circuit over the Trump Administration’s failure to finalize the ceiling fan efficiency standards.

April 3, 2017 coalition of environmental groups notify DOE they will sue in 60 days over its failure to finalize standards for compressors, uninterruptible power supplies, walk-in coolers and freezers, portable air conditioners, and commercial packaged boilers

June 13, 2017  Washington, California, and nine other states petition the US District Court for the Northern District of California over DOE’s failure to finalize efficiency standards for portable air conditioners, air compressors, commercial boilers, walk-in freezers, and uninterruptible power supplies. A coalition of environmental groups also files suit over these same standards on this day.

May 24, 2017 DOE published notice that it will finalize the original ceiling fan rule, including original effective dates, without change.

May 26, 2017 DOE announces it will finalize the standards and set compliance dates for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps.

July 10, 2017 DOE finalizes standards for walk-in freezers.

DOE did not appear to publish its required semi-annual reports on efficiency standards in February or August 2017.

Nov. 28, 2017 DOE issues a request for information and notice of public meeting. Citing Executive Orders 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) and 13777 (Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda), DOE seeks “comments and information from interested parties to assist DOE in identifying potential modifications to its ‘Process Rule’ for the development of appliance standards.” The public meeting is held on Jan. 9, 2018.The comment period for this is open until March 5, 2018.

Nov. 28, 2017 DOE issues a request for information on an evaluation of “the potential advantages and disadvantages of additional flexibilities” in the appliance energy efficiency standards program. They expressed particular interest in market-based options. This comment period has closed.

Feb. 15, 2018 The US District Court for the Northern District of California rules DOE must publish standards for portable air conditioners, air compressors, commercial packaged boilers, and uninterruptible power supplies within 28 days, then gave them another 28 days on March 14, 2018 so they could file a new motion to claim harm to manufacturers or file for a stay from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Aug. 8, 2018 The Trump administration submits a proposed rule revising energy efficiency standards for light bulbs to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. The Obama administration adopted energy-use requirements for incandescent bulbs used in track and recessed lighting, bathroom vanities and decorative fixtures like chandeliers. Incandescent light bulbs are less energy efficient than LED bulbs and last about one year compared with 10 years or longer for LED bulbs.

Feb. 6, 2019 The Department of Energy proposes a plan to roll back two rules that expand the types of lighting subject to higher efficiency levels, requiring the use of compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs rather than incandescent bulbs. One analysis from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project found these rules would save emissions equivalent to the emissions of more than 180 coal plants annually. DOE will hold a public meeting on February 28, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., in Washington, D.C. on this proposal. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar, information available here. The proposal will be open for comment once published in the Federal Register.