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Biden Energy Department Behind on Appliance Efficiency Rules

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President Joe Biden sits in a chair with a blue suit and tie, raising his arms and pointing upwards while in the Oval Office.

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

Patriots, rejoice. While President Joe Biden may be trying to do things like “make the government slightly more functional,” there is one area where his radical socialist agenda is failing: Appliance efficiency.

While the Energy Department has managed to start the process of overturning a slew of rules implemented by your favorite president (Donald Trump, obviously), the process has been slow and disjointed. As a result, all your favorite inefficient, money-pit dishwashers, incandescent bulbs, and more remain available for purchase. Some might argue this is bad for the climate. But real Americans know that having the choice to waste money and point a firehouse of carbon pollution at the atmosphere is the only viable pathway to ultimately making America great again.

On Sunday, the Jeff Bezos Washington Post chronicled the slow progress—or, excuse me, backsliding—of the Biden administration in undoing Trump-era rules and writing new ones governing appliances. The Energy Department is responsible for overseeing efficiency standards. During the Trump years, it granted all sorts of concessions to the natural gas industry, manufacturers, and true patriots. These concessions were also a benefit to the big guy himself. Donald Trump needed the incandescent bulbs to help even his orange hue a bit and a toilet that didn’t require him to flush “10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.”

Biden’s Energy Department has worked to start the process of changing the rules for a number of appliances. But its work has been hampered by the deep state (which is now good, actually). The Post noted that 33 appliances are overdue for energy efficiency standard updates. But first, the current Energy Department has to deal with all the roadblocks put in place by its Trump predecessor.

The Post noted that while Biden directed all executive agencies to identify Trump era rules blocking climate action and fix them by the end of 2021, a number of the 13 rules the Energy Department identified remain unfinished. Among them are the incandescent bulb, dishwasher, and clothes washer and dryer rules. An American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) analysis published last week found that the lightbulb rule is stalled because the Office of Management and Budget is slow-walking it. That analysis also found that the Energy Department still has to finalize updates to a broader Trump-era rule that, when completed, would unlock the ability to update 25 appliance standards.

All this is good news for freedom lovers. It’s also great news for the profits of the natural gas industry, but that’s just a side benefit. If you’re one of those crunchy climate types, though, the failure to make appliances more efficient may cause you to shed some liberal tears. (Please pour them right into my liberal tears mug.) Improving energy efficiency is the lowest of low-hanging fruit when it comes to the liberal climate agenda. A 2020 ACEEE report found stronger efficiency standards could cut carbon pollution anywhere from 1.5 to nearly 3 billion tons over the next 30 years while saving households hundreds of dollars in utility bills.

None of this is to say Biden’s first year has been a total wash; it’s updated rules for showerhead water efficiency as well as energy efficiency for gas furnaces and water heaters. But the Post noted most of the efficiency tweaks have restored previous standards rather than writing new ones, a move that could save time but ultimately fail to deliver more meaningful emissions reductions. But then, that’s what American greatness is all about.

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