Companies join green advocates in push to save efficiency program

Companies join green advocates in push to save efficiency program
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Dozens of companies and organizations are pleading with Congress to save the popular Energy Star program for appliances and other products, rejecting President Trump’s proposal to eliminate it.

The companies, including major names such as 3M, Johnson Controls Inc., Philips Lighting and Intel, joined advocates such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Alliance to Save Energy, which organized the letter, in backing the program in a Tuesday letter to congressional appropriators.

“This voluntary partnership program … helps businesses, state and local governments, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, homeowners, and consumers save money by investing in energy efficiency,” they wrote.

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The popular Energy Star program, part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), allows companies to label their products as being energy efficient if they meet certain standards. It is meant to encourage consumers and businesses to buy those products.

It is among the EPA programs that Trump proposed to eliminate last week in his first budget proposal. The administration is eyeing a 31 percent cut to the EPA, focused largely on slashing climate programs, local environmental programs and Obama administration priorities.

Trump’s budget is only a proposal, and Congress has the ultimate say over federal spending.

“Energy Star accomplishes several highly desirable goals at once: it helps consumers reduce high energy bills, promotes economic growth by stimulating investment in new technology, reduces pollution through cost-effective measures, and helps ensure the reliability of our electric system by reducing peak demand,” the dozens of companies and groups wrote.

“We believe that the wide range of benefits of Energy Star, realized across the entire U.S. economy, make it worthy of your support in FY2017 and FY2018.”