Republican Study Committee Calls to Drop Energy Star Program

In the wake of both hurricanes Katrina and Rita the Federal government’s ability to help pay for reconstruction is likely to involve some fiscal belt-tightening. Barring any change in tax policy, this could spell the end of the popular Energy Star program and a separate renewable energy research program if influential forces in the capitol have their way.

On September 21, the Republican Study Committee released a 23-page report called “Operation Offset” that outlined its recommended “Budget Options 2005.” Among its recommendations are deep cuts in a number of energy and environmental programs. First and foremost, the study calls for the elimination of the federal Energy Star Program, which encourages consumers and organizations to produce and purchase energy saving items for their home or business with its label and certification. For example, if a company’s products meet a certain and often stringent energy efficiency standard, they can place the Energy Star label on their product. The report argues that, “some contend the program does not actually yield any energy savings, and that the labels are too vague to share any educational information with the consumer.” According to the report, elimination of the Energy Star Program will save $835 million over ten years ($391 million over five years). Representatives of the Energy Star Program could not be contacted for comment. The Republican Study Committee report also called for the elimination of the Applied Research for Renewable Energy Sources program, which funds research and development of renewable sources of energy, including developing alternative liquid fuels from biomass. The study said such research is already subsidized through the tax code and that “…development of applied energy technology is not necessarily a proper role for the federal government.” This would save the federal government $4.2 billion over ten years ($2 billion over five years). The full report can be found at the following link.
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