Ben & Jerry's in supermarket case

Michael KappelSoon Ben & Jerry’s will get to live in more efficient freezers.

After sitting on two energy-efficiency rules for more than a year and a half, the Obama administration finally released them on Thursday. They won’t be official until early next year, after the public has time to comment and regulators have time to consider those comments, but at least they’re now moving forward.

The proposed rules would require commercial refrigeration equipment, like restaurant fridges and deli cases, to use less energy. OK, that might not sound like the sexiest initiative, but efficiency mattersa lot. Plus this means you’ll soon have one more reason to feel better about buying Ben & Jerry’s.

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As The Washington Post reports, “The proposals have a significant environmental impact because of the size of the appliances involved.” The White House says the new rules “could cut energy bills by up to $28 billion and cut emissions by over 350 million metric tons of CO2 over 30 years.”

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Still, the White House had to be pushed to actually release the rules. From Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

The proposals were issued after environmental groups and state governments pressed for action from the administration of President Barack Obama. The draft rules were sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review more than a year ago, and missed the 90-day deadline for release.

Because of those delays, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led 10 states in threatening legal action unless the rules were issued. Early this month, the administration settled with the states, and agreed to issue the proposals now and final rules in early 2014.

Earlier this month, the admin also proposed efficiency rules for the types of lights used in big-box stores and sports stadiums.

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Efficiency is an important part of Obama’s climate plan, as laid out in his big June climate speech. And, fortunately, efficiency rules can be implemented without approval from an intransigent Congress.