The Department of Energy (DOE) promoted Jeff Marootian to the position of principal deputy assistant secretary of the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) after his nomination for the role of assistant secretary failed to clear the Senate. Marootian’s nomination faced opposition from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin due to concerns about the Biden administration’s energy policies, particularly regarding natural gas-powered stovetops.
As the principal deputy assistant secretary of EERE, Marootian effectively oversees the office’s activities without requiring Senate confirmation. This appointment makes him the highest-ranking official in the EERE office, responsible for issuing and implementing energy efficiency regulations, including those related to household appliances.
Critics, including Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member John Barrasso, have raised concerns about Marootian’s role in pursuing regulations that may limit consumer choice and increase costs for Americans. Barrasso referred to Marootian as an “unelected, unaccountable, and unconfirmed bureaucrat” who is pushing policies that target household appliances.
Marootian’s journey to this role began with his nomination in July 2022, followed by a confirmation hearing and committee approval. However, his nomination stalled at the end of the congressional session, leading to its withdrawal and renomination in January. Manchin’s opposition in May further complicated Marootian’s confirmation, ultimately resulting in the withdrawal of his nomination for assistant secretary.
During his tenure advising Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on energy efficiency, the DOE pursued various energy efficiency regulations, including those affecting gas stoves, ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners, and more. Critics argue that such regulations limit consumer choice and can increase prices for appliances.
The debate over energy efficiency regulations underscores the ongoing policy discussions surrounding energy and environmental policies in the United States. It also highlights the role of key officials in shaping and implementing these policies.