WASHINGTON, D.C. — The decision announced today by the Bush Administration to weaken the recently published standards for the energy consumption of central air conditioners and heat pumps is stunningly shortsighted. This summer, and for several summers to come, many states and communities will contend with unreliable electric service, including brownouts and blackouts. The demand for electricity during summer months is driven largely by cooling loads, including residential central air conditioners. Today's decision ensures that future summer peaks will be more pronounced, energy price spikes will be more severe, and air quality more degraded than would have been the case if the Administration had simply endorsed the regulation as published in January.
Today's decision represents a triumph of ideology over common sense. Trophy-hunting appointees looking for regulations to weaken or kill in the name of smaller government have shot the Administration in the foot once again -- destroying any pretense of the balanced approach to meeting the nation's energy needs that was promised during the Presidential campaign. A leader that turns away from cost-effective opportunities to reduce the demand for energy cannot expect to marshal public support for costly and environmentally damaging measures to increase energy supplies.
The action proposed by the Administration today -- if implemented -- will increase air pollution, compromise public health, and drive up the costs of energy for US consumers. The Bush Administration's assault on consumers and the environment is continued by this misguided action.