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Congress Considers New Mandates on Consumers, Appliances

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Congress Considers New Mandates on Consumers, Appliances

Congress Considers New Mandates on Consumers, Appliances

In Midst of Recession, Senate Seeks Costly New Product Restrictions

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2009—In the midst of the current economic crisis, Congress is considering new mandates and restrictions on consumer appliances.  The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today is scheduled to hear testimony on a bill (the Appliance Standards Improvement Act of 2009) to impose more stringent energy efficiency standards.  “When Congress talks about ‘efficiency mandates’ and ‘saving consumers money’ in the same bill, it’s time for the public to run for the hills,” said Sam Kazman, General Counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  “If new technologies will truly save consumers money, we don’t need Congress to mandate them.  And when Congress does mandate them, it’s a good hint that those are lousy technologies.”  In recent years there have been a number of appliance fiascos caused by higher efficiency standards, ranging from clothes washers that couldn’t wash to “high-efficiency” dishwashers that were anything but.  The bill, introduced by committee chair Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Ark.) would expand the Department of Energy’s appliance standards program and the federal Energy Star program.  It would also subject floor and table lamps to the upcoming ban on incandescent bulbs.  Mr. Kazman stated:  “The federal ban on incandescent bulbs is one of the most extreme examples of nit-picking government intrusion into every aspect of our daily lives.”  Read more on President Obama’s proposed appliance efficiency mandates at OpenMarket.org. 

Read Sam Kazman in the American Spectator on light bulb mandates.