Regulatory Nominee Vows to Speed Up Energy Reviews 

By John M. Broder | The New York Times: WASHINGTON — The White House has blocked several Department of Energy regulations that would require appliances, lighting and buildings to use less energy and create less global-warming pollution, as part of a broader slowdown of new antipollution rules issued by the Obama administration.

The administration has spent as long as two years reviewing some of the energy efficiency rules proposed by the Energy Department, bypassing a 1993 executive order that in most instances requires the White House to act on proposed regulations within 90 days. Regulatory review times at the White House Office of Management and Budget are now the longest in 20 years, having spiked sharply since 2011.

With some Congressional Democrats and environmental advocates criticizing the delays, President Obama’s nominee to direct the regulatory affairs offices said at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that his first priority would be to speed the agency’s review process.

The nominee, Howard A. Shelanski, who is now the top economist at the Federal Trade Commission, said at the confirmation hearing that he would try “to ensure that regulatory review at OIRA occurs in as timely a manner as possible.” His comments were an acknowledgment that the backlog is frustrating presidential policy and defying the executive order under which regulations are reviewed.

The proposed rules would require that refrigerators, light bulbs and electrical equipment use less energy, much as the Obama administration in its first term required automakers to commit to make cars more energy-efficient.


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