On August 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE) issued a Request for Comments (Request) in response to a Petition for Reconsideration filed by the Landmark Legal Foundation (Foundation) with regard to DOE’s final rule on standby mode and off mode conservation standards for microwave ovens. See Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products: Landmark Legal Foundation; Petition for Reconsideration, 78 Fed. Reg. 49975 (Aug. 16, 2013). The Foundation requested reconsideration of the rule because the final rule used a different Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) to monetize the cost savings associated with reduced carbon emissions that would result from the new conservation standards than the figure used in the proposed rule. As a result, stakeholders had no opportunity to comment on the validity of the new, significantly higher “Social Cost of Carbon.” DOE sought comment on whether to undertake the reconsideration suggested in the petition.
AGA filed comments on September 16, 2013 asking DOE to carefully consider the manner in which it uses any estimate for the social cost of carbon in establishing and cost justifying a conservation standard or efficiency requirement. We explained that AGA has an interest in DOE’s use of the Working Group’s 2013 estimate of the social cost of carbon in future rulemaking proceedings, particularly in proceedings involving natural gas appliances and energy efficiency requirements for homes and buildings. Accordingly, AGA believes that any use by DOE of an estimate for the social cost of carbon should be subjected to a robust and transparent process that provides for input from interested stakeholders. DOE should provide adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity for public comment in accordance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act every time it uses an estimate for the social cost of carbon in a rulemaking proceeding. AGA strongly urged DOE not to simply incorporate the latest Working Group estimate of the social cost of carbon without a high level of transparency and a thorough evaluation by all interested parties.