July 23, 2019
In response to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposed rule to address current delays in requests for interim waivers, NAFEM submitted comments to the agency reflecting member input. DOE proposes to automatically grant interim waiver requests if it doesn’t notify an applicant of its decision within 30 business days. If DOE eventually reviews and denies the waiver request, or recommends an alternate test procedure, companies will have 180 days to comply with the requirements.
In its comments, NAFEM was largely supportive of the proposed rule changes, but also continued to advocate for an interim waiver process that allows for innovative products to have a fair and predictable regulatory path to the market, and a rule that reinforces DOE’s one-year deadline for final decisions to avoid creating open-ended situations.
NAFEM also indicated that that DOE “must prevent and ensure that the waiver process is not abused in any way, or that a company might somehow gain a temporary advantage in the marketplace through the interim waiver process.”
NAFEM’s comments reflect information gathered individually from members, during a Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy June 26 conference call, and during a special combined hot- and cold-side conference call July 12.
Over the past couple of years, NAFEM has met with DOE, the Office of Advocacy and other interested parties regarding its concerns associated with DOE’s current waiver timeline and process. It’s clear that DOE listened to member feedback that the current process can cause “significant delays for manufacturers in bringing new and innovative products to market.”