Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, the Energy Star Program Integrity Act, to protect consumers and strengthen the popular ENERGY STAR program. The ENERGY STAR program, which was created in 1992, is a voluntary program run by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. The program allows manufacturers to obtain ENERGY STAR labeling for products if specific energy saving guidelines are met, benefitting consumers that are looking to purchase energy-efficient products. The bill authored by Latta, H.R. 2104, would fix a gap in federal law that threatens the voluntary participation of manufacturers in the program, which ultimately harms consumers seeking energy-efficient products.
“Consumers, manufacturers, and the environment have all benefited from the popular ENERGY STAR program,” said Latta. “The success of this program relies on voluntary participation by manufacturers with the understanding that many consumers are seeking energy-efficient products. My bipartisan legislation ensures that the ENERGY STAR program will operate as intended by maintaining robust, voluntary participation by manufacturers. Ultimately, it’s the consumers and environment that win when the marketplace contains a wide selection of energy-efficient products to choose from.”
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 manufacturers are not subject to private claims filed after a product is disqualified.