TN Sen. Blackburn claims government wants to take people’s home appliances; Dept. of Energy says that’s false

WASHINGTON (WKRN) — For months, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has been accusing the federal government of wanting to take away people’s household appliances like water heaters and washing machines. However, an expert in appliance policy and the U.S. Department of Energy said that isn’t happening.

“What we’re talking about today is saving consumers and companies money, protecting the environment, and improving our nation’s energy security,” Under Secretary for Science and Innovation at the Department of Energy Dr. Geri Richmond told members of Congress.

Nevertheless, Blackburn has posted at least four tweets, including a clip of her discussing the topic on cable news, on the topic.

“First, the Left comes for gas stoves and washing machines. Now, the Biden administration wants to take away your water heater. What else will they take in the name of their socialist agenda?” the senator posted on July 24.

This comes after the Department of Energy posted its proposed new standards for water heaters that would reportedly save consumers nearly $200 billion and reduce 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years.

Blackburn has attacked similar Department of Energy proposals in the past. Earlier this year, she posted a video claiming without evidence that the Biden administration wants to take away people’s washing machines and make them less efficient.

“I think if you like your washing machine, you should be able to keep your washing machine,” she said.

Andrew deLaski with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit coalition of energy and consumer organizations, said there has been a lot of misinformation circulating about these proposed changes.

“No one’s taking away anyone’s clothes washer, anyone’s water heater, anyone’s stove,” he said.

He added consumers will most likely benefit from these proposed changes.

“They are standards that ensure that the appliances for sale in our stores don’t needlessly waste energy,” deLaski said, “and the Biden administration is in the process of updating standards for a bunch of products that are, frankly, standard updates that are overdue.”

According to deLaski, water heater standards were last updated in 2010, and the technology these appliances use is nearly 80 years old. He said these updates would take about $200 off some people’s electric bills.

“The proposal for a new standard that would really ensure that new water heaters that are sold, come 2029 and 2030, would include innovations that can save people a bunch of money,” deLaski said.

When asked why these updates are happening now, deLaski replied changes like these tend to come with pushback.

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“In many cases, manufacturers have resisted setting the standards updated. And no, perhaps they don’t want to have to invest in new technology, so there has been some resistance from manufacturers in seeing updates,” he added.

Blackburn’s team did not respond to a request for comment on the credibility of her statements.

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