Is the EPA’s next regulatory target the water usage levels of hotel guests?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest regulatory push seems to be aimed at monitoring water usage in the nation’s hotels, with the aim of getting guests to “change [their] behavior,” the text of a federal grant reads.

The EPA denies that its goal is to regulate hotel water use.

But Rush Limbaugh gave the details in a recent radio show.

Reading from the grant documents for the University of Tulsa, he said: “Hotels consume a significant amount of water in the U.S. and around the world. Most hotels do not monitor individual guest water usage and as a result, millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year by hotel guests. The proposed work aims to develop a novel low cost wireless device for monitoring water used from hotel guest room showers. This device will be designed to fit most new and existing hotel shower fixtures and will wirelessly transmit hotel guest water usage data to a central hotel accounting system.”

The grant money is to be used to create a prototype of the wireless device, along with a market analysis, Limbaugh said, citing the EPA document.

“The goal of the project is to change the behavior of Americans when they stay at hotels,” he said, once again citing the document and its justification section.

As Limbaugh warned, though, the notion of using the device at hotels would likely expand.

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“If this stupid idea is ever implemented, you’re going to have one in your house before too long,” he said. “The EPA is going to monitor the length of your showers. My point is, if this ever really happens, this not going to stop at hotels. You’re going to have one of these in your house … If you’re like John Kerry and you have 15 bathrooms in your Beacon Hill estate, you’re going to have 15 of these monitors.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported that the EPA’s WaterSense program, as it’s dubbed, also encourages hotels to promote “linen and towel reuse” by guests.

Tyler Johannes, an associate professor in the University of Tulsa’s School of Chemical Engineering who’s working on the project, said to the Washington Free Beacon the hope is the forthcoming wireless technology will be “adopted by all major hotels and used across the country.” He also said to the news site the goal is to pressure hotel guests to limit their showers to seven minutes, down from the average 8.2 minutes.

EPA deputy press secretary Laura Allen told the Washington Free Beacon, however, that the agency was “not monitoring how much time hotel guests spend in the shower” and that “the marketplace, not EPA, will decide if there is a demand for this type of technology.”

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