President Trump is facing strong opposition in his drive to eliminate federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) popular Energy Star program.
With the Department of Energy’s help, the voluntary Energy Star program sets efficiency benchmarks for appliances, electronics, building materials, lighting and other products, and lets companies use the Energy Star label on products that meet the specifications.
In his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2019, Trump asked lawmakers to eliminate the $42 million in federal funding for the program. He instead proposed allowing the EPA to fund the energy efficiency certification through fees charged to companies that use it. The idea has been pushed in conservative circles for years.
The Trump administration and supporters of the plan say it would shift the burden for its costs to the companies that benefit from it.
“By administering the Energy Star program through the collection of user fees, EPA would continue to provide a trusted resource for consumers and businesses who want to purchase products that save them money and help protect the environment,” the agency told lawmakers in its budget request.
“Entities participating in the program would pay a fee that would offset the costs for managing and administering the program.”
But groups that represent manufacturers, retailers, utilities, environmentalists and others who benefit from the program are lining up against Trump’s plan.
They cite, among other things, the estimated $30 billion in energy savings that users of Energy Star products achieve each year, arguing that it’s a hugely successful program that should be embraced.