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Pallone, DeGette & Tonko Request Information on Energy Star Website Deactivation Due to Government Shutdown

Jan 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) today wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting information about the deactivation of the Energy Star Program’s website due to the ongoing government shutdown. 

“The Energy Star program website is currently deactivated, disabling links to all program resources, preventing consumers from accessing key resources, finding Energy Star products, building energy efficient homes, and realizing energy savings.   The website attributes the removal of these resources to the current federal government shutdown, but the EPA website appears to remain active,” the Democrats wrote to Acting Administrator Wheeler.  “We are concerned the Administration is inappropriately using the federal government shutdown to undermine this critical consumer savings program.”

Congress established the Energy Star Program within EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) to identify and promote energy efficient products and buildings to reduce energy consumption, improve energy security and reduce pollution.  Since its inception, the Energy Star program has saved consumers an estimated $430 billion on utility bills and avoided 2.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.  Despite these significant consumer savings, the Trump Administration has continually sought to defund and otherwise undermine the program.  

In order to more fully understand why access to this specific page and information has been eliminated, the Democrats are requesting that EPA provide information no later than January 31, 2019, including:

  • Why did EPA disable and replace the Energy Star website with the current “Important Notice” notification stating “all Energy Star tools, resources, and data sources will not be available” due to the government shutdown, and when, specifically, did EPA make this change? 
  • Which EPA personnel requested and authorized the disabling of the Energy Star website?  When did EPA authorize the request to shut down the website? 
  • Has EPA disabled (including, but not limited to, deactivating previously active hyperlinks to program information) any other program websites due to the government shutdown?
  • How much total staff time (by either EPA employees or contractors) did EPA spend on deactivating each hyperlink on the Energy Star webpage? 
  • Federal agencies and many states are required by law to purchase Energy Star-qualified products in certain instances.  Is EPA aware of any instances in which agencies or states have suspended procurements until access to Energy Star product information on the website is restored? 

The Democrats’ letter is available HERE.