WASHINGTON—Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs Chairman Pat Fallon (R-Texas) today opened a hearing titled “Cancelling Consumer Choice: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Home Appliances.” In his remarks, Chairman Fallon warned that the Department of Energy’s burdensome proposed rulemakings on home appliances will raise costs for manufacturers and ultimately fall to American consumers.
Below are Subcommittee Chairman Fallon’s remarks as prepared.
Today we will examine the Department of Energy’s proposed rulemakings on home appliances—a tidal wave of regulatory burdens affecting Americans’ daily lives.
This slate of rules includes the controversial Consumer Convention Cooking Products Rule, which imposes stricter requirements on gas stoves.
But it doesn’t stop there.
There are other rulemakings under consideration for dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, and other household appliances under the guise of improving energy efficiency as proscribed by the Environmental Policy and Conservation Act, or “EPCA.”
In May, this Committee invited DOE officials to discuss the gas stoves rule, which would impact 40 percent of American households, but the Department refused to make witnesses available.
Instead, the Subcommittee heard valuable insight from nongovernmental witnesses that the gas stoves rule is “not a sincere attempt to improve efficiency.”
Today’s hearing follows over two months of correspondence between the Committee and DOE, requesting the Department testify on these opaque and burdensome rulemakings.
During the Subcommittee’s hearing last month regarding EPA emissions rules, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle expressed annoyance that we’re repeating hearing topics. I’m here to say that we wholeheartedly agree.
As I said last month, and I’ll say again now: If this Administration cared about transparency they would appear before this Committee when requested and this Committee would not have to duplicate hearing topics.
We are glad the Department finally showed up to answer questions about the burdensome rules they want to impose on our constituents.
The gas stove rule in particular presents alarming violations of EPCA and erroneous analysis according to the experts who testified in place of invited Department officials.
The Department relied on an uncited, court-supervised consent decree and dubious cites to the law as grounds for refusing to testify at this earlier hearing.
We saw this rationale on full display from Democrats who claimed the Department’s rule is “required actually by law,” which is not accurate.
In doing so, the Department and Democrats appear to be endorsing “sue-and-settle-type” practices of radical activist litigants.
A practice which allows special interest groups to achieve regulatory goals by forcing agencies to implement policies in response to litigation by friendly organizations that occurs in secret to bypass the legislative and regulatory processes.
On September 20, 2022, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, and other liberal groups settled a lawsuit against the Department to update “overdue” energy efficiency standards for 20 categories of consumer and commercial appliances and equipment, including gas stoves.
This settlement accelerated the Biden Administration’s 100 plus actions on energy efficiency standards, avoiding APA requirements, which now cover a whole host of household items Americans use every day.
Many of these rules result in hundreds of millions in costs to manufacturers—costs which will ultimately fall to consumers.
The DOE, however, will argue that saving 12 cents per month, or $1.50 per year, is more than enough reason to reconfigure the entire gas stove industry. If that doesn’t seem like much, well you can sleep easy knowing that getting rid of your gas stove is saving the planet from climate change.
Give me a break. We all know that these rules are a solution in search of a problem. America is a global leader in technological advancements in energy efficiency, regardless of fuel source.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the coordinated efforts between radical environmental activists and subsequent agency rulemakings that stand to impact even the smallest aspect of our daily lives.
If an agency is going to propose rules that stand to upend entire sectors of our appliance industry, they should be ready to answer questions about them.
And that’s what we’re here to do today.
I thank our witness for appearing before the Committee today, and I yield to Ranking Member Bush for her opening statement.