Rep. Blackburn To Obama: Keep Your Hands Off Our Appliances

REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The Obama administration is trying to regulate our ceiling fans after attacking light bulbs and wood stoves, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn is pushing back.

The Tennessee Republican has been pushing against Department of Energy regulations mandating energy efficiency requirements on ceiling fans and natural gas furnaces. Blackburn co-sponsored an amendment to defund the DOE’s ceiling fan energy efficiency regulations on ceiling fans passed by voice vote in the House last night.

“Just like stretching their tentacles into light bulbs and so many other areas of our home, what they are doing is pricing people out of the ceiling fan market,” Blackburn told House lawmakers Thursday.

The House also opposed an amendment introduced by Blackburn to defund DOE regulations that would effectively ban the use of non-condensing natural gas heaters. Blackburn argues the DOE rule would force consumers to buy furnaces that cost $350 and require an additional $2,200 in installation costs.

“This is one of those regulations that is too expensive to afford. The cost on this is astronomical,” she said on the House floor Thursday. “Even DOE itself says the cost to the American consumer is $12 billion to install these furnaces.”

Blackburn has targeted one of the important planks of the Obama administration’s climate agenda: energy efficiency mandates for buildings, appliances and heating and lighting systems. Reducing energy is one of the more subtle ways President Barack Obama plans to cut U.S. carbon dioxide 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

In the past year, the DOE has finalized 10 different energy efficiency standards, culminating with standards on fluorescent lamps and commercial ice makers. These energy efficiency rules are projected to reduce 435 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2080 — only a fraction of the 6.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases the U.S. emits every year.

“As part of President Obama’s climate action plan, the Energy Department set an ambitious goal of finalizing 10 energy efficiency standards this year, and with the new efficiency standards for general service fluorescent lamps and automatic commercial ice makers, we have reached that goal,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The DOE also proposed efficiency standards for fake fireplaces. These standards are projected to save consumers $165 over the lifespan of the average hearth and reduce carbon emissions by 11.1 million metric tons through 2030.

“The Energy Department is committed to building on this progress, and will continue to develop standards that move the U.S. closer to a low-carbon future,” Moniz said.

The Obama administration says energy efficiency mandates will save Americans money and help the environment, but Republicans say these rules come with a massive price tag.

“The Department of Energy has proposed a one-size-fits-all approach that unfairly punishes Americans living in warmer climate zones such as the southeast,” Blackburn said of the DOE gas furnace regulations.

Blackburn’s not alone. House Republicans also passed a bill to defund the DOE’s incandescent light bulb ban introduced yet again by Texas Rep. Michael Burgess.

“I think the American people are trustworthy enough to choose which light bulbs to use in their own homes,” Burgess said in a statement. “The adoption of this common-sense amendment is critical, so that the federal government doesn’t continue dictating which household products to use.”

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