The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, filed Freedom of Information Act requests on April 26 – demanding records from the Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy relating to the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to all funding for the Energy Star program.
“We hope public records reveal the real motive behind [President Donald] Trump’s bizarre proposal to gut the Energy Star program,” said Greer Ryan, Sustainability Research associate at the center. “Planning to eliminate a widely successful program that’s supported on both sides of the aisle is yet another shortsighted attack by this administration on any effort to address climate change.”
Energy Star is an effective and well-known program, the center noted. In 2015, with a $50 million budget, the program led to $34 billion in consumer and business savings. In total it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.7 billion metric tons since 1992 — the equivalent of nearly 40 percent of total U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Star labels are recognized by more than 85 percent of Americans.
“To protect our planet and ensure we have a livable climate, we need to reduce emissions in every way possible. That means rapidly transitioning to wildlife-friendly renewable energy sources but also reducing energy waste,” said Ryan. “Energy Star is a cost effective and tried-and-true way to reduce energy waste in our homes and businesses. It’s a program we just can’t afford to cut.”
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.