Congress tells EPA to drop its SSL Energy Star criteria

A letter to the EPA from several members of Congress clearly states that DOE should administer the Energy Star program for SSL, and that EPA should defer to the DOE.

A letter addressed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, and signed by nine Members of Congress, urges the EPA to end its “ongoing conflict” with the DOE over Energy Star criteria for residential solid-state lighting products.

The letter, reproduced below, requests that Jackson should rescind the EPA Energy Star criteria for SSL as soon as possible.

Congress has spoken, so we wait to see how, and when, the EPA will respond.

+++

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515
March 27, 2009

Administrator Lisa Jackson
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We are writing to urge you to quickly bring to resolution the ongoing conflict between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy regarding Energy Star criteria for residential solid-state lighting (SSL) products, commonly referred to as “LED lighting,” by rescinding the EPA Energy Star criteria for SSL as soon as possible.

We recognize and appreciate the EPA’s longstanding leadership in the Energy Star program, and we understand that the Agency’s SSL criteria were developed with intent consistent with the Energy Star mission. However, the current state of affairs, in which two federal agencies have put forth two separate standards, is untenable. The overlapping standards are creating uncertainty in the industry [and the] resulting confusion is threatening American leadership in this growing industry and could erode the integrity of the Energy Star brand if allowed to continue.

The future of the SSL industry is very promising. The market for high-brightness LEDs used in lighting was $205 million in 2006, and projected to grow to approximately $1 billion by 2011. The United States currently enjoys a leadership position in this industry. Because Energy Star certification is a vital step in the commercialization of any new energy efficient technology, a single agency must ultimately take the lead so as not to undermine the SSL industry at a critical point in its development.

We have come to the conclusion that the DOE should administer the Energy Star program for SSL based on our interpretation of section 912(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and input from experts in the SSL industry. We understand the past precedent with the respect to the division of responsibility between DOE and EPA and a justifiable interpretation of relevant legislation led the Agency to develop Energy Star criteria for SSL. We hope that report language accompanying the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act provides sufficient clarification as to the intent of Congress in this matter.

The EPA and the Energy Star program have played an invaluable role in making America more energy efficient, and will continue [to] serve an important function in our Nation’s efforts to achieve energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create good jobs for Americans. In interest of preserving the integrity of the Energy Star brand and supporting American leadership in the SSL industry, we urge you to defer to the DOE’s SSL Energy Star criteria.

Sincerely,

Jay Inslee (Member of Congress, D-WA)
Andre Carson (Member of Congress, D-IN)
Russ Carnahan (Member of Congress, D-MO)
Jim Himes (Member of Congress, D-CT)
Mike Honda (Member of Congress, D-CA)
Jerry Moran (Member of Congress, R-KS)
David Price (Member of Congress, D-NC)
Betty Sutton (Member of Congress, D-OH)
Paul Tonko (Member of Congress, D-NY)

cc: Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
cc: Nancy Sutley, Council on Environmental Quality

More in Home