Toilet Flushing Rules Are Latest Political Football In Congress
By Sara Jerome
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian, anti-regulatory icon, is taking aim at toilet regulations to make his point that the federal government creates too many rules.
The Republican proposed legislation last week to peel back plumbing regulations dating back to the '90s, including a rule that restricts "the amount of water that can be used to flush a toilet," E&E Publishing reported.
The legislation, a proposed amendment to an energy bill moving through the chamber, appears to be more of a statement about excessive government regulation than a serious change to the law.
Nevertheless, the plumbing industry is taking it seriously.
"More than three dozen groups, including the Alliance for Water Efficiency and Kohler Co., sent a letter to Senate leaders urging opposition to the amendment," E&E reported.
"This amendment would repeal the national plumbing efficiency product standards that have been in place since the passage of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, and would also prohibit enforcement of those standards. In our view, passage of this amendment would set the U.S. back two decades and would eliminate the continued water and energy savings that have benefitted the nation," the letter said.
The letter argued that uniform national standards actually result in fewer regulations, and that the rules in question "save water and save energy in homes and businesses, thus reducing costs for these users."
Rand first took aim at plumbing regulations at a congressional hearing two years ago which immediately went viral. In the video, Paul addressed a woman of the opposing party.
"Frankly, the toilets don't work in my house," he said. "And I blame you, and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house, what I can do."
Toilets are not new to the political conversation. As The Atlantic noted, various libertarians have taken aim at plumbing regulations over the years to make their point about government red tape. To demonstrate the point, the magazine asked a prominent libertarian if she had heard her peers talk about toilets before Paul made them an issue.
Peggy Venable, Texas state director for Americans for Prosperity, told The Atlantic, “Oh, my goodness, yes."
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