Tuesday, April 06, 2010

New Products for Your Home-Endorsed by the EPA and DOE

A gasoline powered alarm clock and a space heater with a feather duster and fly paper. You can't make this stuff up.

EDITORIAL: Close enough for government work
The EPA and Energy Department are caught fudging efficiency ratings
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy are charged with identifying how energy-efficient different products are. They claim that 98 percent of the products they test meet or exceed Energy Star requirements, which are government benchmarks used to regulate greater efficiency. Yet a sting by GAO investigators showed that the government agencies incorrectly identified as "efficient" 15 of 20 bogus products submitted by GAO for testing. No action was taken on two of the 20 products. Overall, the government made the correct decision on 11 percent of the test products.

As the Washington saying forewarns, the difference between 98 percent and 11 percent is close enough for government work.

Most disturbingly, the absurd products in question shouldn't have been close calls. Take the so-called "room air cleaner." The product was a space heater with a duster sticking out of the top and several fly strips attached. The picture submitted to the government of the bogus product is pretty hilarious - but the bureaucracy gave the contraption the federal stamp of approval.

Among the other ridiculous items the government certified as energy-efficient was a petroleum-powered timepiece that was described as a "generator-sized clock run on gasoline." Such a machine obviously would be energy-inefficient. Moving the heavy beast alone would keep greens awake at night worrying about wasted energy, making the alarm on the clock superfluous.

News of these phony approvals has bureaucrats running for high ground. While defensively insisting that they take the tests "seriously," the EPA and Energy Department immediately issued a statement defending their testing and telling the public it should not lose confidence in the government program to monitor efficiency ratings. Incorrigibly, the feds again pointed to their own discredited 98 percent accuracy rate and implausibly claimed the Energy Star program has so far saved Americans $17 billion on their electricity bills.

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