Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would eliminate the ENERGY STAR program, even though a great many American consumers rely on it to choose appliances that meet Federal energy efficiency standards, such as windows, refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers.
The program has improved since an Inspector General report highlighted flaws with the program. In response to the IG's report, ENERGY STAR moved away from allowing manufacturers to self-certify that they comply with efficiency standards, and now it requires third-party certifiers. Well, I'm sure there's room left for further improvement in the program.
As the gentleman from Louisiana has stated, many, many consumers have come to rely on this program in their everyday purchases and would, frankly, be stunned to think that this program is now being targeted. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved nearly $18 billion on their utility bills last year alone and enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars. Isn't that a good thing?
This is a voluntary program that works. We've heard so much railing coming particularly from the other side about EPA's regulations, and now the majority wants to attack a voluntary pro-consumer program. The underlying bill already contains a very substantial cut to the ENERGY STAR program, notwithstanding the fact that it has saved hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars and has enabled consumers to be much better informed as to what their appliances might cost them in terms of energy
But the ENERGY STAR program has been funded in this bill at the 2008 level, 4 years ago. Since then, the population has expanded, the number of appliances and things that use a great deal of electricity, particularly computers, has expanded almost geometrically. People's bills are going up. They want to know what are the most energy-efficient products, so they rely upon the ENERGY STAR program, again, a voluntary program and one that has been improved since the IG report. They have third-party
certification now as to what they are saying so that we should have some confidence now in the ENERGY STAR imprimatur, if you will, on appliances.
It doesn't seem that this is the kind of thing that we should be cutting. This is a pro-consumer, voluntary effort that works. So I strongly oppose this amendment.
Mr. FLEMING. I don't disagree with the gentleman's comments. It's a good program, although it has been a flawed program. Hopefully, it's been improved.
My point is that this could be better done in the private sector, a fee or whatever paid directly to whatever private entity out there that would be nonprofit for this. Why should the taxpayers have to subsidize it? That's really the issue here.
Mr. MORAN. Reclaiming my time, I would say to the gentleman, we have things like the Better Business Bureau which, frankly, doesn't have that kind of certification. Almost anybody can get designations. Sometimes it's helpful. Other times it's less so.
I think the American consumer wants some level of credibility in the organization that is certifying that an appliance is energy efficient. The Energy Star designation means something. And if this was self-policing, done completely in the private sector, you wouldn't have had an Inspector General report. You wouldn't have had this corrective mechanism that now says, you've got to fix this. You can't rely completely upon self-certification, which is exactly what you'd have under the private sector.
Mr. FLEMING. There are plenty of private sector oversight organizations. And again, UL: No appliance ever goes to market now without a UL stamp, and again, that's done through a private entity. So, again, it's a great program. Don't get me wrong. I just don't see where taxpayers should be funding that. We can do much better through the private sector.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman from Virginia has expired.
Mr. CALVERT. I appreciate the gentleman's shared desire to reduce spending, however, I must oppose this amendment. As the minority pointed out, to meet the 2012 302(b) allocation, we cut the Energy Star program by $27.5 million, funding for the Energy Star program down to $48.2 million, which is below the 2006 level. And we believe that significant cuts took place in this program, as they should have been taken. And with that we reluctantly oppose the amendment, and would ask for a ``no'' vote.