Attorney General Becerra Files Motion to Intervene in Lawsuit to Defend Federal Energy Efficiency Standard for Commercial Packaged Boilers

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as part of a coalition of 12 attorneys general and the City of New York, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency standard for commercial packaged boilers against an industry-backed challenge. The commercial boilers standard is one of four efficiency standards that DOE was required to publish in the Federal Register as a result of the successful multistate challenge led by Attorney General Becerra. It is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save small businesses and consumers billions of dollars through reduced energy consumption.  

“The Trump Administration tried to gut this energy efficiency standard once before. But we took them to court — and won,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Now, through this industry-backed lawsuit, perhaps they think they can help heavy polluters escape accountability. This is 2020, not 1920. Energy efficiency standards are commonsense standards. We stand ready to defend these standards that reduce pollution in our communities and saves consumers and local businesses money.” 

Commercial packaged boilers are used to heat commercial and multifamily residential buildings. The Commercial Packaged Boilers Standard, developed in 2016, sets efficiency requirements that encourage the adoption of electric boilers, which are more efficient than gas-powered boilers. The standard is expected to save consumers and businesses nearly $2 billion dollars and eliminate 16 million metric tons of CO2 emissions over the next 30 years. After Attorney General Becerra successfully sued DOE over its failure to publish the final rule, the Commercial Packaged Boilers Standard was finally published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2020.

In March 2020, the American Public Gas Association; Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute; and Spire, Inc. filed lawsuits challenging the Commercial Packaged Boilers Standard. The consolidated case is currently pending in the D.C. Circuit. Given DOE’s previous failure to publish the energy efficiency standards in the Federal Register, the coalition of attorneys general believes that DOE cannot be expected to faithfully defend the standard in court and seeks to intervene in the lawsuit.

Attorney General Becerra has fought to preserve energy efficiency standards which save consumers and help protect the environment. In 2017, Attorney General Becerra sued to challenge DOE’s failure to publish finalized energy efficiency standards for portable air conditioners, generators, air compressors, boilers, and walk-in coolers and freezers. A district court ruled in 2018 that DOE’s action was unlawful, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in 2019. Also in 2017, as part of a multistate coalition, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenging DOE’s unlawful delay of enforcement of energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans. As a result of the lawsuit, DOE changed course and let the standards go into effect. In 2019, Attorney General Becerra, co-leading a coalition of attorneys general, filed a lawsuit challenging DOE’s final rule rolling back energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs.

In filing the motion to intervene, Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of New York. 

A copy of the motion can be found here.

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