Trump Seeks to Undo Reagan’s Energy Efficiency Measures
New energy efficiency standards have been passed by every president since Ronald Reagan. These standards have been responsible for saving Americans almost $2 trillion.
In 1987, President Reagan signed the first energy conservation standards bill. It covered 12 different classes of major home appliances.
These included refrigerators, stoves, heat pumps and air conditioners. All had to meet tighter energy use standards.
Supporters of the bill talked about the savings. Others said appliance costs would skyrocket.
But appliance prices haven’t gone up as a result of new standards. It’s just the opposite.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that prices were 22.52% lower in 2019 versus 1997. A dishwasher that cost $200 in 1997 dropped to $155 in 2019.
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
Fast forward to 1989… President George H.W. Bush signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. These amendments intended to reduce the effects of acid rain.
Bush accomplished this by using an emissions cap-and-trade setup.
Both the House and Senate approved it, with strong bipartisan support.
Besides lowering harmful power plant emissions, it also created the ENERGY STAR program. This is run by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Since it began in 1992, ENERGY STAR has saved Americans more than $450 billion. It also cut our electricity needs by more than 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours.
Under Bush 41, Congress also passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992. It laid the foundation for today’s energy efficiency policy work.
The passage of the 1990 and 1992 laws with strong bipartisan support shows what can happen when Congress works together. It did this during a time of divided government.
Energy Independence and Security Act
Fast forward again to 2007… Bush 43 is president.
That year, he signed the Energy Independence and Security Act.
It required lightbulbs classified as general service lamps to meet higher efficiency standards. This has gradually phased out incandescent lightbulbs.
In 2017, President Obama added more types of bulbs into the general service lamps category. This included three-way bulbs.
Last year, President Trump rolled back the Obama expansion. And he now seeks to roll back much of the energy efficiency work done by his Republican predecessors.
However, 15 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Department of Energy. The suit is challenging the rollback of lightbulb energy efficiency standards.
I don’t understand Trump’s motivation for rolling back efficiency standards. We need to become more energy efficient, not less.
Saving energy saves all of us money. Businesses save, industries save and – most importantly – consumers save.
Do you have a different opinion? Let me know by leaving a comment below.