Friday, April 30, 2010

GAO's Sting Operation Against EPA and DOE "Energy Star" Program


I did, for the first time in a long time. This is from, and the article was taken from CNS News:

Obama’s EPA Gave Energy Star Certification to ‘Gas-Powered Clock Radio’ and 14 Other Phony Products, GAO Says (Matt Cover, 4/30/2010 CNS News)

"The Environmental Protection Agency certified that a “gas-powered clock radio” was an energy-efficient product under the government’s Energy Star program, despite the fact that neither the clock nor its manufacturer ever existed.

"The clock and 14 other phony products were part of an investigation into the Energy Star program conducted by the Government Accountability Office, which submitted 20 fraudulent Energy Star applications from four fake companies. The EPA evaluated 16 of those products while the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated four.

"Fifteen of the phony products – including the gas-powered alarm clock – and all four of the fake companies were certified by EPA/DOE under the Energy Star program.

"GAO conducted the investigation between June 2009 to March 2010, setting up fake Web sites and using rented post office boxes and cell phones to make it look like its fake companies were real. (See fake companies’ Web sites: Cool Rapport, Futurizon Solar Innovations, Spartan Digital Electronics, and Tropical Thunder.)" [The article continues.]

I just had to find the gas-powered clock radio. So I visited all of the fake sites, checking out tongue-in-cheek product descriptions and corporate philosophies. Cool Rapport has a catchy message: "Welcome to Cool Rapport online - relax, put your feet up and stay a while". Futurizon Solar Innovation has a picture of daffodils for its geothermal heat pumps that are "cut above the rest". They seem to have made a liberal use of photos from residential real estate listings (particularly Tropical Thunder).

I finally found the clock at Spartan Digital Electronics.

Here's how the company describes the product:

Gas-Powered Alarm Clock
Spartan Digital Electronics is proud to announce its latest line of home electronics. The gas-powered Black-Gold model clock radio is sleek, durable, easy on your electric bill and surprisingly quiet. The newly Energy Star-qualified product is safe for indoor use and easy on the environment. This product approximates the size of a small portable generator for increased ease while traveling.

Hahahahaha I love this. And EPA/DOE issued Energy Star certification. (Here's the full report from GAO.) I highly approve of such sting operations. GAO's conclusion: "Energy Star is for the most part a self-certification program vulnerable to fraud and abuse." What a surprise. Now we know what travesty this government certification process is. Wait till all these "eco" "green" "clean energy" certifications get unleashed on us if the cap and crap bill passes the Senate.

I love to have the GAO do the full audit of the Federal Reserve, too.


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