Carper Praises Decision to Let Stand Air Conditioner Standard

White House Decides Not to Challenge Clinton-era Energy-Efficiency Rule

WASHINGTON, DC (April 2, 2004) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today praised the Bush administration for backing down on its opposition to a Clinton-era rule requiring that central air conditioners be 30 percent more energy efficient starting in 2006. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned an attempt by the Bush administration to roll back the rule, known as the 13 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER-13). Today, the Energy Department, which had sought to replace the SEER-13 standard with a weaker rule, announced it would not challenge the court’s decision – meaning the Clinton standard will go into effect in 2006. “The administration did the right thing in letting this court ruling stand,” said Carper. “This new air conditioning standard will help lower our energy demands and reduce air pollution. It’s a win-win scenario for consumers and the environment alike.” Carper spearheaded the effort to urge the White House to stand by the court’s decision and let the standard go into effect. He, along with 50 other senators, including Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., wrote to the White House on March 19 in defense of the SEER-13 standard, saying it represents a “significant victory for consumers, for the environment and for our energy’s future.” The letter also said the standard would produce several environmental benefits, including: Alleviating the need for additional electricity production and transmission. The new standards would mean that 48 fewer power plants would have to be built by 2020. Reducing harmful air pollution. The new standards would mean that 2.5 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide will be released annually by 2020. In addition, the standards would also help hold down emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, thanks to a decreased demand for electricity production. Lower electricity bills for consumers and businesses alike. More energy-efficient air conditioners would save almost $1 billion annually in electricity costs. The savings would also recover the slightly higher purchasing cost of the more efficient air conditioners in less than 18 months.