Washington bureaucrats aren’t known for writing regulations that make our lives easier, and under the Clinton Administration, regulations have reached the point of downright meddling. In a recent Washington Times editorial, Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum, called our attention to one such example.

The environmentalists in the current administration have penned a behemoth rule to reduce electricity use in home appliances that would eliminate the agitators found in top-loading washing machines. I can hear you all saying, “Huh?” I know, it sounds ridiculous, but this is a classic example of a manufacturing industry colluding with unfriendly environmentalists on an issue that helps both their pocketbooks and leaves ordinary Americans all washed up.

Here’s the scoop. Environmentalists want Americans to use less electricity and water. Washing machines use a lot of both, but a front-loading washer uses less water than a top-loading machine. The manufacturers of washing machines, who are often foes of ridiculous environmental regulations, see a cash opportunity here. They can sell a front-loading machine for more money than the larger capacity top-loader. In fact, an average of $240 will be added to the cost of each washing machine if these regulations are enacted.

This is ironic coming from an administration that claims to care about women and the time crunch many of us face. Front-loading washers will take about ten minutes longer to wash a load. On top of that, loads will have to be smaller not only because of a smaller capacity, but also because you can’t use as much laundry soap in a front-loading machine. So, you’ll have to do more loads than you do now, and each load will take longer. (This might cause one to wonder where the electricity savings would kick in.)

The culprit here is the Department of Energy. The agency is trying to implement provisions of the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming, which the U.S. Senate has refused to ratify. This is the same department that banned the sale of toilets that flush more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Not only do the new commodes require twice the flushing (again using more water than the old models), but there is also a healthy black market for the older toilets.

Manufacturers are supporting this silly rule because a government standard makes it easier to sell high priced items. Whirlpool has even issued a press release commending the Department of Energy for requiring Americans to buy and use the more expensive machines, which Whirlpool sells.

It?s not enough that this administration has aired its own dirty laundry for all the world to see, now they want to tell you what to do with yours. The next Congress will have a chance to help families if it decides to repeal this soak-the-wallet regulation.