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Energy-Saving Rules Facing Bush Rollback

April 05, 2001|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is close to deciding whether to roll back standards issued in the last days of the Clinton presidency requiring new home air conditioners and heat pumps to use less electricity and natural gas.

The decision, on the heels of rolling electricity blackouts in California and President Bush's declaration of an "energy crisis," also could result in rescinding new efficiency standards for clothes washers and water heaters, Energy Department spokesman Joe Davis said Wednesday.

"Decisions on these efficiency standards are imminent," Davis said, adding, "We haven't made a final decision."

Environmental and trade groups as well as key lawmakers were all scrambling Wednesday to influence the pending decision and prepare reactions.

"It would look pretty bad if the first policy action on energy was to make the crisis worse," said David B. Goldstein, director of energy programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Since assuming office, Bush has moved to rescind several environmental directives and regulations, including mandated reductions of arsenic in drinking water, stricter requirements on mine safety and a ban on new roads and most logging in a third of the national forests.

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