WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday finalized two rules easing energy standards on consumer fixtures and appliances, including one on shower heads after President Donald Trump complained some showers don’t adequately rinse his hair.
The rules are part of Trump’s last-minute efforts to roll back rules that limit production or consumption of oil, gas and coal as part of his “energy dominance” policy.
The department also finalized a rule to exempt some clothes washers and dryers from standards allowing them to use more energy and water.
Trump had complained in July at a White House event that water does not flow strongly enough from showers to his liking. “So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair – I don’t know about you – but it has to be perfect,” he said at the event.
Last year, Trump said environmental regulators were looking at sinks, faucets and toilets to revise conservation rules. “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once,” Trump said then.
The rule change effectively allows showers to include multiple heads that flow at the 2.5 gallon (9.4 liter) per minute standard Congress set in 1992, when Trump’s fellow Republican George H.W. Bush was president.
The Trump administration says the rollbacks give people choices. “Americans can choose products that are best suited to meet their individual needs and the needs of their families,” Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said.
But environmentalists said easing standards will boost utility bills and waste. The rules “allow for products that needlessly waste energy and water are ridiculous and out of step with the climate crisis,” said Andrew deLaski, head of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project nonprofit group.
In his climate plan, President-elect Joe Biden said he would direct the department to issue new efficiency standards.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Dan Grebler)