AG Healey Sues Trump Administration for Blocking Critical Energy Efficiency Standards
Multistate Coalition Files Lawsuit Against Department of Energy for Obstructing Energy Efficiency Standards That Will Save Consumers Nearly $12 Billion
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 11 state attorneys general and the City of New York in filing a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for violating federal law by failing to implement critical energy efficiency standards that would save consumers and businesses an estimated $11.6 billion over a 30-year period.
In today’s lawsuit, the coalition alleges that the Department of Energy (DOE) is violating the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), the Federal Register Act (FRA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by stalling the final standards for portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, walk-in coolers and freezers, commercial boilers, and air compressors.
“These standards will save consumers money on their energy bills, significantly reduce air pollution, and promote a clean energy economy,” said AG Healey. “I will not hesitate to go to court to ensure that the Trump Administration cannot block common-sense standards like these from going into effect, as the law requires.”
In the complaint filed today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the attorneys general of Massachusetts, California, New York, Washington, Maine, Connecticut, Illinois, Vermont, Oregon, Maryland and Pennsylvania and the City of New York assert that the DOE’s failure to publish final energy efficiency standards for these appliances harms consumers, the environment, public health, natural resources, and the economy. According to federal estimates, these standards would save consumers and businesses an estimated $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 159 million tons, and conserve over 242 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity – the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of more than 19.3 million households – over a 30-year period.
DOE issued a “prepublication notice” of a final rule for compressors on Dec. 5, 2016 and for the four other products on Dec. 28, 2016. The posting of these five rules triggered a limited “error correction” period for the public to identify any typographical or numbering errors for correction by the agency. By law, DOE was then required to publish final energy efficiency standards for compressors by Feb. 21, 2017 and for the four other products by March 15, 2017. To date, the DOE has not published any of these final standards.
Today’s lawsuit follows a lawsuit filed in April in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by AG Healey and a coalition of states including New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the City of New York against the DOE challenging a similar delay in finalizing energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans.
Following the lawsuit in April, the Trump Administration published notice in the Federal Register on May 24, reversing course and finalizing the ceiling fan efficiency standards as written.
This matter is being handled on behalf of Massachusetts by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Goldberg of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division and Assistant Attorney General Joseph Dorfler of AG Healey’s Energy and Telecommunications Division.