Democratic News

A more efficient air-conditioning standard is an important part of a national energy strategy. The previous administration had finalized a rule that mandated a 30 percent increase in efficiency for central air conditioners – the so-called 13 SEER standard. Shortly after the current administration took office, they proposed to back off this mandate and reduce it to only a 20 percent increase. Recently, EPA’s comments to the Department of Energy on the proposed standard was among thousands that DOE received in favor of the more stringent standard. Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman is among those who strongly oppose watering down this standard: “The Environmental Protection Agency deserves a lot of credit for urging the Administration not to roll back the efficiency standard for air conditioners. Especially now, with the nation at war, the Federal government should be doing everything it can to encourage the efficient use of energy ... not working to weaken one of the most effective ways to save energy. “EPA’s common-sense conclusion confirms a view held by many of us in Congress: that the Bush Administration was a victim of faulty data, that its attempt to retreat on the air conditioning rating was based on information that is inaccurate, outdated and misleading. Truth is, an efficient air conditioner cools a house as well as a less efficient one, uses less electricity and saves money. “EPA’s filing eloquently capsulizes our concerns. This is an issue where there is broad public support for the stronger standard, and I believe the Administration should stay in step with that public sentiment.” (Text of the EPA letter to the Department of Energy, together with the overview attached to its filing and Chairman Bingaman’s floor remarks, are posted at energy.senate.gov.) # # #