Obama’s energy efficiency rules will last, Moniz says

Obama’s energy efficiency rules will last, Moniz says
© Anne Wernikoff

President Obama’s aggressive agenda of energy efficiency regulations will survive future administrations, his secretary of energy said Tuesday.

Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Overnight Energy: Rough hearing for Tillerson Overnight Energy: Former Exxon chief Tillerson takes the hot seat MORE said that it would be very difficult for a president who disagrees with the rules, such as a Republican, to reverse course.

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The Department of Energy under Obama’s leadership has put out regulations meant to save energy in water heaters, air conditioners, ceiling fans, dishwashers and a wide swath of other applicances and equipment.

The agency came out with 13 such rules just last year, and it’s planning another 13 this year, Moniz said at the annual research summit of the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) a part of DOE.

“If one wanted to change those, one would have to go through a full rulemaking process,” Moniz said. “That was attempted once before at a change of administration, and it was lost in the courts.”

Moniz was referring to President George W. Bush, who tried early on in his administration to loosen air conditioning standards, but was rebuffed in court.

Beyond the rules, Moniz was optimistic that Obama’s energy agenda — particularly his push for clean energy research and development — would survive future presidents and Congresses of either party.

“I think the innovation agenda really has very substantial bipartisan support,” he said, citing support from lawmakers such as Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: 'I'm glad' Ivanka will be working in the White House Trump tweets promotion for Fox News show GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) for clean energy research.

Moniz credited the support for ARPA-E to a pair of factors.

“First of all, it’s very broad-based in its technologies. It’s not doing just solar energy,” he said, pointing to research that can help oil drillers.

“Secondly, everybody likes innovation.”