Latta Authors Bill to Protect Consumers and Strengthen ENERGY STAR Program
Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Energy Star Program Integrity Act, to strengthen the popular ENERGY STAR program and protect consumers. The legislation fixes a gap in federal law that threatens the voluntary participation of manufacturers in the program, which ultimately harms consumers seeking energy-efficient products. ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) that allows manufacturers to obtain ENERGY STAR labeling for products if specific energy saving guidelines are met.
The program currently allows DOE to perform “off the shelf” testing of products to ensure that they meet the established standards. If the product fails, it is disqualified and the EPA works to resolve issues and determine if compensation is warranted for consumers. Despite the effectiveness of the current system, a gap in the law has recently emerged which would allow the pursuit of private litigation against manufacturers if a product falls out of compliance. This threat may cause manufacturers to rethink their participation in ENERGY STAR, undermining the successful program. The legislation introduced by Congressman Latta would codify the consumer protections in place within the EPA oversight process, while clarifying that manufactures are not subject to private claims filed after a product is disqualified.
“The ENERGY STAR program is a classic win-win that benefits consumers, manufacturers, and the environment,” said Latta. “For more than two decades, ENERGY STAR has worked because manufacturers choose to meet these standards and robust consumer protections are in place to ensure their compliance. Unfortunately, this successful program is threatened by actions that could remove the incentive for producers of energy-efficient products to participate. The bipartisan Energy Star Program Integrity Act fixes this gap in law so that the program will continue as designed.”