Appeals Court Strikes Down Biden Admin's Washing Machine Regulations

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2024 - 06:25 PM

Authored by Aldgra Fredly via The Epoch Times,

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in the week blocked the Biden administration’s efforts to repeal Trump-era efficiency standards regulating water usage in dishwashers and laundry machines.

In its ruling on Jan. 8, the court said the Department of Energy’s (DOE) actions to tighten the regulatory regime in 2022 were “arbitrary and capricious.”

“Even if DOE could consider dishwashers’ and clothes washers’ ‘efficiency’ in both ‘energy use’ and ‘water use,’ the 2020 Rules likely promoted greater efficiency in both categories than the Repeal Rule.

“Assuming both energy conservation metrics are on the table, the States argue, and DOE does not appear to dispute, that one important aspect of that problem is whether appliance regulations actually reduce energy and water consumption,” it added.

In 2020, the DOE released two final rules that established product classes for residential dishwashers with a normal cycle time of 60 minutes or less, top-loading washing machines with a normal cycle time 30 minutes or less, and front-loading machines with a normal cycle time of 45 minutes or less.

The Biden administration in 2022 finalized a rule to revoke the two earlier rules, which it said contain “improperly promulgated standards,” reinstating the prior product classes and applicable standards.

A group of states led by Louisiana petitioned for review of the DOE’s repeal. The court said it granted the petition and remanded the rules back to the department.

The court also questioned whether the DOE has “statutory authority” to regulate water use in dishwashers and clothes washers.

”But even if DOE has water-usage authority over the relevant appliances, the Department failed to adequately consider the negative consequences of the Repeal Rule, including the substitution effects of energy-and-water-wasting rewashing, prewashing, and handwashing.

“And in all events, the 2022 DOE failed to adequately consider the impact of the energy conservation program on ‘performance characteristics,’” it added.

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill said the court’s decision marks a “big win” for families in the United States.

“It’s not ‘energy efficient’ to have to wash your dishes and clothes twice (for hours),” Ms. Murrill stated on social media.

“The Biden Administration’s dishwasher rule saved neither energy nor water. For families—moms, dads, and kids who do laundry and dishes, this is a big win! We want appliances that work,” she added.

Biden Admin’s Climate Rules

In May last year, the DOE proposed congressionally mandated standards for new dishwashers that promised to lower costs while reducing the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere.

The proposal sought to cut energy use by 27 percent and water use by 34 percent in new conventional household dishwashers made in the United States or imported into the country, starting three years after the publication of the final rule.

This means that the maximum estimated annual energy use for standard-sized dishwashers would be 223 kWh/year and the maximum per-cycle water consumption would be 3.3 gallons.

Compact dishwasher models would see a 22 percent reduction in power use and an 11 percent lower water usage.

However, a coalition of 19 industry and consumer groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) argued that existing dishwasher standards were already causing “serious problems” for consumers and that tightening them further would worsen the problems and undercut consumer protections.

“While each of the Biden administration’s recently-proposed appliance measures raises a unique set of risks for consumers, the proposed dishwasher rule at issue here is particularly harmful.

“We believe the proposed rule should be withdrawn and that the Department of Energy (DOE) should shift its focus to addressing the drawbacks caused by its existing dishwasher regulations,” the coalition wrote.