Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vermont, Other States Reach Deal with Federal Government on Energy Efficiency Standards

The Associated Press reports that Vermont and 13 other states have reached a deal with the federal government which will require the U.S. Department of Energy to implement long-overdue energy efficiency standards for home appliances.

The agreement will set efficiency levels for 22 home appliances, including water heaters, air conditioners, clothes dryers, and cooking stoves. Standards for each class of appliance will be phased in over time between 2007 and 2011.

Advocates of the new standards believe that full implementation will save enough energy each year to power approximately 12 million U.S. homes. The energy savings should help avoid the need to construct dozens of new power plants over the next several decades, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a level equivalent to removing 18 million cars from the road in the U.S.

The settlement agreement resolves litigation filed last year against the Department of Energy by 14 states, the City of New York and several public interest groups. The suit alleged that the Department of energy had failed to meet it mandatory obligations to improve efficiency requirements, and that new standards were more than thirteen years overdue.

A federal judge approved the settlement earlier this week.

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