President Biden’s unelected bureaucrats were never going to stop at taking away your light bulbs. Your gas stove is next, followed by your dishwasher and your water heater – then finally your car. And it’s not members of Congress who are doing this, so you can’t vote them out of office.
This isn’t conjecture. This year the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation have announced proposed rules that would force you to give up your current appliances and cars.
Additional regulations to pressure companies not to fund American energy have come from the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
And it’s going to cost you. DOE’s proposed dishwasher rule would increase wash times and raise costs of the machines, and the agency admits that the rule will result in “$8.6 million per year in increased product costs” while resulting in savings of only $17 a year per household.
Under DOE’s proposed natural gas stove rule, 90% of gas stoves would have to be redesigned, raising prices and lowering performance. DOE estimates that consumers would pay more than $32 million more for stoves, and many households would have small annual savings or higher costs.
In April, EPA released a proposed tailpipe rule that would require two-thirds of new vehicle sales to be battery-powered electric by 2032. The Department of Transportation released a companion rule on July 28, late on Friday afternoon after Congress had left town for its August holiday, a popular time for agencies to release undesirable rules.
The vehicle rules would raise driving costs – and poor Americans and those with children would be hurt most. New electric vehicles (EVs) cost about $10,000 to $25,000 more than their gasoline-powered equivalents, and the time it takes to recharge is inconvenient for people parking on the street, or drivers on long road trips, especially trips with children.
The rationale for many rules is the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, signed into law when America had to import oil and natural gas. Now, however, America is one of the world’s largest producers, so the law is outdated.
Nevertheless, Biden has deployed the full brunt of his executive branch powers in his quest to regulate household appliances. Congress, the branch of government most directly answerable to the people, would not pass such restrictive laws, so Biden is accomplishing his goal through regulation.
As well as the outdated 1975 law, the Biden administration is using the so-called existential threat of climate crisis as an excuse to limit the appliances that Americans can use.
Even getting rid of all American fossil fuel emissions would only reduce global temperatures by 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to government models, because increases in emissions are coming from China, Russia, India, Africa, and Latin America.
Under the Administration’s regulatory regime Americans — especially the poor and middle class — would bear major costs in higher appliance and car prices and a forced switch to costly electric vehicles, without any material benefit for the environment.
These regulations will be challenged in court, and may be found unconstitutional, as was EPA’s attempt to regulate regional emissions through a new interpretation of the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court overturned the EPA’s Clean Power Plan in June 2022 in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA’s new plan to do the same, proposed in May, should meet the same fate.
Biden’s bureaucrats are coming for our appliances and cars, making us poorer with no benefit for the environment. Let’s hope that court challenges prevail.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor, directs the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation.
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