The Department of Energy (DOE) said Monday that the agency is preparing to gather information about Obama-era energy efficiency rules that small businesses believe were crafted without consideration to their overall costs.
Small business owners are raising “concerns that certain issues and information may not have been fully considered during the original rule making proceeding,” according to a draft copy of the DOE’s Federal Register filing. More clarification on the final five rules is needed, the agency added.
“A number of small businesses have written the DOE expressing concern about the economic burden of the test procedure rule,” the filing notes. They are also worried about the administrative costs associated with complying with the Obama-era rule, according to the filing.
DOE said in March that it would continue to postpone the efficiency testing procedures, which also regulate walk-in coolers and freezers, central air conditioners and heat pumps. The rule established procedures for testing compressors’ energy efficiency and other required technical changes
Former President Barack Obama finalized rules on air compressors in January before then-President Elect Donald Trump took office. Obama argued at the time that the energy efficiency rules were crucial to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his colleagues have issued waves of lawsuits to protect the former president’s climate policies. The Energy Department announced earlier this year that it would move ahead on energy-efficiency standards for ceiling fans.
Environmentalists sued the administration in June for delaying the energy efficiency rules.
“These delays are not only baffling, they’re unnecessary and illegal,” Kit Kennedy, a spokesman with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said in a statement about the lawsuit. The Sierra Club and various Democrat-led states joined the litigation.
Energy-efficiency regulations reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and save consumers money, the coalition’s lawsuit claims. In this case, according to the states, the standards could save nearly $ 24 billion over a period of 30 years.
Critics argue that the promised energy savings rarely materialize. DOE’s ceiling fan rule, for instance, is expected to cost $4.4 billion, according to regulatory estimates. Even the plaintiffs suing Trump don’t have consistent estimates of benefits from the rules.
Trump made reversing his predecessor’s climate regulations a focal point of his presidential campaign. The president has signed a slew of executive orders repealing climate regulations he believes could potentially hurt American business and waste taxpayer money.
The Trump administration withdrew from the Paris agreement on climate change, a non-binding accord that sought to prevent the Earth’s temperature from rising above 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The White House said at the time of the pull-out in June that Obama poorly negotiated the deal.
White House aides said the administration would withdraw from the Paris accord using the process laid out in the agreement.
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