Energy Department Denies Petition To Reconsider Microwave Oven Standards

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Dec. 30 --The Energy Department has denied a conservative group's petition to reconsider energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens, saying it provided sufficient notice and opportunity for public comment regarding its use of the social cost of carbon in its rulemaking.

In a notice to be published in the Dec. 31 Federal Register, the department “also concluded that reconsidering the microwave oven final rule would not result in any change to the standard ultimately adopted.”

The Landmark Legal Foundation had said in a July petition that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide adequate opportunity for comment on the use of the social cost of carbon in the rulemaking .

The petition asked the Energy Department to consider its final rule on energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens in standby or off modes (78 Fed. Reg. 36,316).

Dozens of groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, Portland Cement Association, American Forest & Paper Association, Council of Industrial Boiler Owners and the National Mining Association, submitted comments on the petition, according to the notice. Most of those groups did not object to the efficiency standards themselves but instead voiced concerns about how the Energy Department used the social cost of carbon figure.

Environmental and public advocacy groups urged the agency to reject the petition because the social cost of carbon figure had been based on ongoing research and the best available science .

The White House lowered its estimate of the social cost of carbon on Nov. 4 to $37 per ton in 2007 dollars for the year 2015, down from the figure of $38 per ton announced in May 2013. The Energy Department then released revised estimates of the economic benefits from several energy efficiency rulemakings, but noted that the November revisions yielded “very small” changes .

According to its website, the Landmark Legal Foundation is the “oldest conservative, non-profit, public interest law firm” in the U.S.

By Anthony Adragna  

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Adragna in Washington at aadragna@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com