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February 15, 2011
Two Manufacturers Agree to Civil Penalties to Resolve Enforcement Actions

The Department of Energy today announced it has now settled two civil penalty actions against companies for violations of DOE regulations requiring that they certify products as compliant with federal efficiency standards.  In the first case, DOE cited Perlick Residential & Hospitality Products (Perlick) for failure to certify properly its residential refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers.  DOE agreed to accept a civil penalty of $5,000 for the certification violations to settle the case, after considering factors set forth in DOE’s penalty guidance

February 14, 2011
DOE GC Joins Customs Service Trade Data System to Strengthen Enforcement Effort

The Department of Energy today announced that its Office of the General Counsel has joined the Board of Directors of the International Trade Data System, and now has access to the U.S.

February 7, 2011
DOE Adopts Rules to Improve Energy Efficiency Enforcement

Today, the Department of Energy adopted final rules to improve the enforcement of DOE’s efficiency requirements for appliances, lighting and other products.

February 4, 2011
General Counsel’s Office Issues Guidance on Inherently Governmental Functions

Today, the Office of the General Counsel issued guidance on the federal prohibition against contractors performing inherently governmental functions.  The guidance sets out the basic rules for what contactors can and cannot do and provides best practices for federal DOE employees when using contractor services.  Since 2009, the General Counsel’s office has made available on its websitenon-priv

January 31, 2011
DOE Seeks Public Views On How Best To Streamline Existing Regulations

The Department of Energy today announced two immediate steps to implement the Obama Administration's Executive Order on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, which directs federal agencies to review existing regulations and determine whether they are still necessary and crafted effectively to solve current problems.

January 13, 2011
DOE Subpoenas Maker of Super Power Showerhead

Yesterday, the Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement issued a subpoena to Richard Graham of Long Beach, California seeking water efficiency information and sales records for the “Super Power Shower” in response to a complaint that it violates federal water conservation standards.  The Super Power Shower is sold by Mr.

January 13, 2011
DOE Launches New Smart Grid Web Portal

Today, the DOE General Counsel’s Office is launching a new Smart Gird web portal.  In October, the General Counsel’s office released two reports exploring technological and legal issues critical for the continued development of the Smart Grid.  Drawing upon significant public participation, the reports recommended several next steps to assist utilities and other stakeholders in the rollout of Smart Grid technologies and applications.  One of these recommendations was to provide a public portal for information on a variety of issues, including data access and privacy, priority of service, w

December 23, 2010
DOE Issues Enforcement Guidance on Large-Capacity Clothes Washer Waivers and the Waiver Process

Today, the Department of Energy issued enforcement guidance on the application of recently granted waivers for large-capacity clothes washers and announced steps to improve the waiver process – and refrain from certain enforcement actions – so that innovative covered products can demonstrate compliance with DOE efficiency requirements and come to market without undue delays.  Based on comments received in response to DOE’s

December 20, 2010
DOE Proposes First Revision to its NEPA Rules in More than a Decade

Today, the Department of Energy issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend its regulations governing compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposals focus primarily on the Department’s categorical exclusion provisions, and reflect the first update to these provisions in thirteen years. The Department sought public input earlier this year to assist in the preparation of the current proposals.

December 17, 2010
DOE Signs Agreement Allowing National Labs to Use the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals to Resolve Disputes

The Department of Energy announced today that it has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the United States Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) to enable the Department’s lab and facility management and operation (M&O) contractors to employ the CBCA for mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution services.  Earlier this year, the Department clarified that M&O contractors are permitted to include binding arbitration clauses in their contracts with others, and, indeed, that arbitration may often be a desirable alternative to litigation where disputes