CV NEWS FEED // A federal court on Monday hindered the latest attempt by the Biden administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) to regulate everyday household appliances.
“In 2022, the [DOE] tightened the regulatory regime surrounding America’s dishwashers and laundry machines,” wrote the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in the decision. “The Department’s actions were arbitrary and capricious. So we grant the petition and remand to the Department.”
Eleven states had sued the DOE: Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. All of these states have Republican attorneys general.
“The Biden administration has attempted to push new standards for both [dishwashers and washing machines] since coming into office in 2021,” reported Nick Pope of the Daily Caller News Foundation (as published in The Daily Signal).
Pope wrote that these moves came “as part of a wider push to nudge the market toward more energy-efficient appliances, which in some cases are generally less effective than their other models.”
In the ruling, the 5th Circuit raised the question of “whether appliance regulations actually” fulfill their stated purpose of “reduc[ing] energy and water consumption.”
‘[T]he administrative record contains ample evidence that DOE’s efficiency standards likely do the opposite,” the court pointed out:
They make Americans use more energy and more water for the simple reason that purportedly “energy efficient” appliances do not work
So Americans who want clean dishes or clothes may use more energy and more water to preclean, reclean, or handwash their stuff before, after, or in lieu of using DOE-regulated appliances.
The Hill pointed out that while the 5th circuit sent the rule back to the DOE for re-evaluation, “it did not appear to eliminate the existing rule in the meantime.”
“Nevertheless, opponents of the existing rule touted the court’s decision as a victory,” The Hill indicated.
Attorney Devin Watkins of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) called the court’s decision a “massive win.” The CEI is a pro-free market think tank.
Meanwhile, a senior attorney at the “green” organization Earthjustice “said he viewed the court’s decision as mostly negative,” per The Hill’s reporting.
In his piece, Pope also highlighted that “the Biden DOE has also sought to impose energy-efficiency regulations for items such as water heaters, furnaces, and pool pump motors.”
Last year, observers from across the political spectrum criticized the Department after it announced a proposed rule aimed at restricting the country’s usage of gas stoves.
“DOE proposes new and amended energy conservation standards for consumer conventional cooking products,” stated the notice of proposed rulemaking on February 1, 2023. The notice later clarified that the standards were to apply to “gas cooking tops.”
In June, Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA, noted that the rule “would require, for the first time ever, an energy performance standard for residential cooktops.”
“If this draconian rule were carried out, it would eliminate anywhere between 50-95% of today’s gas appliances,” Newhouse added.