(Official Washington Examiner editorial, January 14)  For all of President Joe Biden’s talk about wanting to “save democracy,” his administration keeps being dressed down in court for trying to evade democratic processes. On Jan. 8, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the latest to send Biden’s agency machinations through the rinse cycle.

At issue were regulations by Biden appointees at the Department of Energy that imposed significant restrictions on washing machines and dishwashers. Both regulations limited the use of water per cycle while forcing the machines to run for much longer time periods to make up the difference. The court’s three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the department probably had no statutory authority to issue the restrictions at all, but that even if it did have that power, it used it in an illegally “arbitrary and capricious” manner.

The ruling was a major win for consumer groups who say the restrictions make the machines take too long and work less well. And, in a strong rebuke to the environmentalist performance artists who promulgated the regulations, the judges also said the “less water” edict probably causes more harm than good to the environment itself.

The court credited “ample evidence” that the Biden efficiency standards “make Americans use more energy and more water for the simple reason that purportedly ‘energy efficient’ appliances do not work. So Americans who want clean dishes or clothes may use more energy and more water to preclean, reclean, or handwash their stuff before, after, or in lieu of using DOE-regulated appliances.”

The department itself had previously noted this problem, but when rewriting the regulation, the Biden team “acknowledged the concern and moved on” without any analysis of why that concern no longer held water. “Stating that a factor was considered, however, is not a substitute for considering it,” the court wrote. The new rule, it wrote, “expressly confesses that it did not weigh the risks and benefits of eliminating short-cycle appliance classes” that may use more water per cycle but less water (and energy) overall….. [The full editorial is at this link.]


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