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EPA Receives Over 11,000 Consumer Comments On ENERGY STAR’s Direction

Environmentalists and consumers raise concerns about affordability and access with ENERGY STAR proposal that leaves behind average consumers.


Monday, September 9, 2013 — More than 11,000 concerned citizens deluged the Environmental Protection Agency with public comments over the several weeks after the agency released the final draft of a proposal that would make some ENERGY STAR products out of reach for average consumers.
The rapid consumer response came despite EPA releasing the final draft in the generally idle month of August. When Congress returned to session this week from an August recess, lawmakers found copies of those letters waiting for them. Copies were sent to the White House, as well.
The Coalition for Home Energy Efficiency organized the letter-writing campaign when EPA failed to acknowledge consumer concerns over proposed changes to ENERGY STAR standards for windows and skylights. More than 20,000 citizens sent messages to Congress protesting the anti-consumer and anti-environment changes prior to release of the final draft. The proposal sets an unprecedented goal to cut market share for labeled products in half, a new strategy that would hurt average consumers who have come to rely on the program’s guidance.
“ENERGY STAR made a promise to all of us” said Sherry Delaney, director of the Coalition, in a recent message to supporters. “It is simply unfair for the program to change the nature of that promise when they have engendered our trust for two decades.”
The philosophical shift at EPA is starkly out of step with recent public speeches by President Obama in which he urged all Americans to “Act On Climate” to slow the damaging impact of climate change on the environment. The president also has called on Congress to provide a “Better Deal” for middle class homeowners. For two decades ENERGY STAR has been a model for engaging average consumers to reduce energy use and carbon emissions, while offering them clear guidance on products that would reduce their monthly utility bills. Studies have shown that affordable energy efficiency upgrades can reduce mortgage default risk.
On the heels of the large response from stakeholders, EPA announced last Thursday that it would extend the comment period for the proposal an additional week, to Friday, September 13.
The Coalition for Home Energy Efficiency is a group of citizens and ENERGY STAR partners who want to preserve and protect ENERGY STAR – one of our nation’s most successful federal government programs – and encourage affordable energy efficiency strategies for average consumers.
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