This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 11, 2009

President Obama Orders Swift Action on Appliance Efficiency Standards

Photo of President Obama at a podium that carries the presidential seal. A DOE logo and banner behind him is framed by two flags.

President Barack Obama has directed DOE to expedite its energy efficiency standards for appliances.
Credit: DOE

President Barack Obama issued a memorandum last week that instructs DOE to take all necessary steps to finalize new appliance efficiency standards as quickly as possible. As noted by the president, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) set certain deadlines for DOE to set energy efficiency standards for a broad class of residential and commercial products, and in 2005, DOE was sued for allegedly failing to meet the deadlines and other requirements of the EPCA. In November 2006, DOE entered into a consent decree, under which DOE agreed to publish the final rules for 22 product categories by specific deadlines, the latest of which is June 30, 2011. In addition, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) directed DOE to establish energy standards for additional product categories.

Although DOE has made progress on meeting its consent decree, the agency remains subject to deadlines on 15 of the 22 product categories, as well as a number of additional product categories added by the EISA. President Obama directed DOE to focus its efforts on the five energy efficiency rules with deadlines prior to August 8, and then to prioritize its efforts, tackling first the standards that will result in the greatest savings, while still meeting all applicable deadlines. The president announced the new memorandum on a visit to DOE, during which he spoke primarily about his economic stimulus plan. Regarding the efficiency standards, he noted that they will avoid the use of "tremendous amounts" of energy. "We'll save through these simple steps, over the next thirty years, the amount of energy produced over a two-year period by all the coal-fired power plants in America," said the president. See the presidential memorandum and the text (PDF 16 KB) and video (Windows Media File 55 MB) of President Obama's speech on the DOE Web site. Download Adobe Reader or Windows Media Player.