DOE transformer rule fires debate over Biden’s climate record

By Brian Dabbs | 04/05/2024 06:33 AM EDT

The department’s plan would cut emissions less than an original proposal.

PSE&G employee Percy Thompson III unloads new electrical transformers in a parking lot used as a staging area at the Quaker Bridge Mall Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Lawrence Township, N.J. Utility crews continue to work on restoring power to the area after Monday's storm surge from superstorm Sandy that left businesses and residents without power. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Electrical transformers in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. Mel Evans/AP

A Department of Energy final rule Thursday setting efficiency standards for distribution transformers is frustrating environmental groups, who say the plan falls short in cutting emissions.

The regulation also isn’t earning applause from the industry group that represents transformer producers, which argues it could perpetuate long-running supply chain challenges.

Even so, the DOE rule delivers a major win for Cleveland-Cliffs — one of the biggest U.S. steel companies — and union workers in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio


“The DOE’s final rule ensures a viable pathway for [United Auto Workers]-made steel to supply the transformer market long into the future,” said Jamie Sychak, president of the UAW Local 3303 in Butler, Pennsylvania, which operates at Cleveland-Cliffs’ Butler Works plant. “Labor is recognized today as a key stakeholder on the policies and decisions of our government.”