Matsui, Dingell, Castor Lead Effort to Protect Energy Efficiency StandardsJan 16, 2024 10:40AM ● By Office of Rep. Doris Matsui News Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. (MPG) - Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-07) and Reps. Debbie Dingell (MI-06) and Kathy Castor (FL-14) led a group of 49 lawmakers in sending a letter to House and Senate Appropriations leadership, urging them to reject appropriations provisions that would gut new energy efficiency standards.
“As Congress works to come to an agreement on appropriations for fiscal year 2024, we write to oppose provisions in H.R. 4394, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024, that would diminish the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) authority to set energy conservation standards for a range of appliances,” wrote the lawmakers.
DOE energy efficiency standards cover more than 60 different products ranging from laundry machines and dishwashers to lighting technologies. These standards are important tools to save American consumers money while also decarbonizing crucial sectors of the economy. DOE recently estimated that new efficiency standards adopted during President Biden’s first term will provide nearly $1 trillion in additional consumer savings over the next 30 years.
“By ensuring that standards are up-to-date, we can save money and energy while also ensuring that consumers have a wide range of top-performing choices that suit them,” the lawmakers continued. “As a result of standards in effect today, the average American household saves approximately $500 annually on utility bills.”
The letter has the support of energy efficiency and climate stakeholders.
“The Department of Energy is doing its job updating energy efficiency standards to save consumers and businesses money while protecting the climate,” said Andrew deLaski, Executive Director, Appliance Standards Awareness Project. “There’s no good reason Congress should interfere. The representatives on this letter are standing up for lower utility bills and less pollution.”
“This attack by House Republicans on consumers would block the Department of Energy from reviewing, assessing, and updating appliance energy efficiency standards,” said Margie Alt, Climate Action Campaign Director. “Since their inception in 1987, appliance efficiency standards have reduced family utility bills by about $500 per month. New efficiency standards will drive innovation and save families even more money in the future. Plus, updated appliance efficiency standards will reduce climate pollution. Congress must reject this effort to keep profits high for big polluters at the expense of our families and our environment.”
Congresswoman Matsui has long spearheaded bold, forward-thinking climate policies and championed robust energy efficiency standards. She sits on the Energy Subcommittee of the Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees DOE energy efficiency programs, and serves as co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC).
A copy of the letter can be found below.
Dear Chair Murray, Chair Granger, Vice Chair Collins, and Ranking Member DeLauro,
As Congress works to come to an agreement on appropriations for fiscal year 2024, we write to oppose provisions in H.R. 4394, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024, that would diminish the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) authority to set energy conservation standards for a range of appliances. When the House of Representatives enters conference negotiations with our counterparts in the Senate on fiscal year 2024 appropriations, these provisions should not be part of the final agreement.
With initial standards enacted in 1987, national energy and water efficiency standards ensure that technological innovations that improve efficiency and save consumers and businesses money show up in the everyday products we rely on to keep our food cold, clean our clothes, stay warm when it's cold out, cool when it's hot out and much, much more. Federal law requires DOE to periodically review existing product standards to determine whether an update that would save a significant amount of energy or water would be technologically feasible and economically justified. By ensuring that standards are up-to-date, we can save money and energy while also ensuring that consumers have a wide range of top-performing choices that suit them.
As a result of standards in effect today, the average American household saves approximately $500 annually on utility bills. Those savings will continue to grow so long as DOE updates standards. DOE projects that new efficiency standards adopted under this administration can provide nearly $1 trillion in additional consumer savings over 30 years.
These savings are particularly beneficial to low- and moderate-income households, which expend disproportionate shares of their income on energy bills. Standards also are a boon to renters, as they are often not responsible for selecting their appliances and yet bear the utility bill burdens. Three in five Americans support strengthened standards, according to a poll published by Morning Consult this spring.
If Congress reversed or halted energy conservation standards, Americans would lose money, our energy and national security would suffer, and more pollution would warm our climate and harm public health.
It would also create uncertainty for businesses that produce these products, putting jobs making efficient appliances and equipment at risk.
For these reasons, we oppose the following prohibitions and cuts to funding for DOE’s Appliance and Equipment Standards Program included in H.R. 4394:
Title III: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) – Reduction in annual appropriations by $466 million. A Manager’s Amendment offered by Rep. Fleischmann was considered adopted by the House Rules Committee before the bill reached the floor; it would cut EERE’s budget by a further $1 billion.
Section 307: Prohibits activities related to energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers.
Section 317: Prohibits activities related to energy conservation standards for gas kitchen ranges and ovens.
Section 615 (H.Amdt.505): Prohibits the use of funds to finalize, implement, or enforce DOE's proposed furnace standard.
Section 617 (H.Amdt.510): Prohibits the use of funds to finalize, implement, or enforce DOE's proposed water heater standard.
Section 626 (H.Amdt.523): Prohibits the use of funds to finalize DOE's proposed automatic commercial ice maker standard.
Section 627 (H.Amdt.524): Prohibits the use of funds to implement, administer, or enforce DOE’s room air conditioner standard.
Energy efficiency ensures safe, reliable, and affordable energy to Americans now and in the future. We should not forgo investment in this policy tool which has generated benefits for decades across many technologies and continues to deliver returns today.