Biden admin crackdown on dishwashers faces widespread opposition

The Biden administration’s proposed regulations targeting dishwashers is facing pushback from a coalition of 19 industry and consumer groups. The coalition — led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) — filed comments with the Department of Energy (DOE) late Tuesday, arguing that the rules are unnecessary, overly burdensome and would harm consumers, and urging the agency to withdraw the proposal. The DOE first unveiled the proposed regulations two months ago and the public comment period for the rulemaking concluded Tuesday. “The proposed rule would tighten the energy and water efficiency standards for residential dishwashers, despite the fact that the standards currently in effect are causing serious problems for consumers,” the letter stated. “Those problems include cycle times an hour or more longer than were the norm before the standards went into effect, as well as other adverse impacts.” “The proposed rule would exacerbate these problems and thus further violate the consumer protections built into the law,” it continued. “For these reasons, we believe the proposed rule should be withdrawn and that the Department of Energy should shift its focus to addressing the drawbacks caused by its existing dishwasher regulations.” JOE MANCHIN VOWS TO FIGHT BIDEN’S WAR ON APPLIANCES: ‘NOT SUPPORTING ANY OF THE CRAZINESS’ In early May, the DOE announced the new dishwasher energy efficiency standards alongside regulations similarly targeting electric motors and beverage vending machines. The agency said the rules would help save Americans and families millions of dollars “while tackling the climate crisis.”  The dishwasher rules, the DOE said, would take effect in 2027 and save consumers an estimated $168 million per year on utility bills. And the regulations are projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5 million metric tons. However, the DOE was criticized over the rule by industry groups and Republican lawmakers alike who noted the agency has already issued recent dishwasher efficiency regulations and that consumers are currently free to choose pricier efficient appliance models. DEMOCRATS, ECO GROUPS TAKE AIM AT OTHER HOME APPLIANCES AMID GAS STOVE DEBATE According to the CEI, the DOE has already regulated dishwasher efficiency standards on four separate occasions. The current proposal represents the fifth rulemaking taking aim at the popular home appliance. “While each of the Biden administration’s recently-proposed appliance measures raises a unique set of risks for consumers, the proposed dishwasher rule at issue here is particularly harmful,” the comment letter led by CEI added. “As it is, the existing energy and water efficiency measures for dishwashers have led to widespread and well-documented dissatisfaction over cycle times that have more than doubled from about an hour to two or more.” “The proposal to tighten these provisions would very likely make things worse. Further, since the existing energy and water limits are already quite stringent, the proposal to tighten them would generate very little marginal savings,” the groups wrote. “Overall, dishwashers may well have the distinction of being the most overregulated home appliance, yet DOE now seeks to regulate them further.” BIDEN ADMIN MOVING FORWARD WITH LIGHT BULB BANS IN COMING WEEKS The letter further argued that the efficiency standards would result in lower performance and cause lead to a higher number of repairs. For example, it notes dishwashers that comply with the proposed standards use less water and don’t properly flush out food particles leading to mold and debris buildup. It also stated the energy and water savings generated by the regulations are not significant. Citing the DOE’s own data, the letter notes the regulations would save consumers $17 over the life of a standard dishwasher, which it estimates to be 15 to 16 years.  “This miniscule benefit is the very real risk of greatly diminished performance and convenience for consumers.” In addition to dishwashers, over the last several months, the DOE has unveiled new standards for a wide variety of other appliances including gas stoves, clothes washers, refrigerators and air conditioners. And the administration boasted in December that it had taken 110 actions on energy efficiency rules in 2022 alone as part of its climate agenda. According to the current federal Unified Agenda, a government-wide, semiannual list that highlights regulations agencies plan to propose or finalize within the next 12 months, the Biden administration is additionally moving forward with rules impacting dozens more appliances, including consumer furnaces, pool pumps, battery chargers, ceiling fans and dehumidifiers. The Heritage Foundation, Institute for Energy Research, Heartland Institute, American Consumer Institute, Consumers’ Research, Americans for Prosperity, and American First Policy Institute were among the groups joining CEI in signing the comment letter Tuesday.
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