The Bush administration did a whole lot of overturning, overruling, rewriting, and deleting environmental regulations—but it also did a subtler kind of harm by allowing foot-dragging on all sorts of green initiatives.
One area where things were allowed to slide was in appliance efficiency: Laws already on the books required new energy standards for household and commercial appliances, but they were tied up in missed deadlines, bureaucratic disputes, and lawsuits. Without leadership from the White House, they languished.
The Obama administration has sent a clear message on the appliance standards: Get back on track. Its February order to the Department of Energy to start hitting deadlines “challenges DOE’s decades of failure to comply with laws dating to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975,” writes Environmental Building News.
The upshot is that the DOE has until August to meet the next set of deadlines, which cover lamps and lightbulbs, ovens, microwaves, vending machines, dishwashers, commercial boilers, and air-conditioning units. In other words, some serious energy gobblers, not just blenders and coffee makers.
Lane Burt, an energy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, has tracked these issues on his blog and has especially championed a new lighting standard. “It is an amazing new reality,” he writes, “when the president of the United States speaks directly to the importance of efficiency standards and goes so far as to instruct his energy agency to be proactive rather than reactive in issuing those standards.”
Image by Joshua Davis, licensed under Creative Commons.