The Department of Energy today announced 27 new proposed penalties against companies selling products in the United States without certifying that they comply with energy efficiency or water conservation standards.
The legally required certifications are said to ensure that products sold in the U.S. deliver significant energy and cost savings to buyers. Prior to the Obama Administration, the Department had never systematically enforced DOE’s 35-year-old energy efficiency standards. Lax enforcement of energy efficiency standards undermines the goal of increased energy efficiency – now clearly a national security issue.
There are other implications as well. While not directly automotive industry related, today’s enforcement actions – coming on top of a newly activist Department of Transportation in automotive safety matters and the U.S. Trade Representatives’ duties on Chinese tire imports, among other well-publicized examples – are the latest indications that an industrial policy of sorts to protect manufacturing jobs is underway across the Obama Administration.
The U.S. is alone among industrial nations – either communist run or elected democracies – to lack formal policies to protect U.S. jobs, now a contentious mid-term election year issue with record high unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.