Attorneys General Becerra & Schneiderman: Energy Efficiency Standards Shelved by Trump Administration Must Go into Effect Nationwide
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today secured a federal court ruling requiring national energy efficiency standards go into effect. Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman led a coalition that sued the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on June 13, 2017 for refusing to implement these standards in violation of the law. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that DOE violated its error correction regulation under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act by failing to publish in the Federal Register finalized energy efficiency standards for four products: portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, and commercial packaged boilers. Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman led a coalition of 13 Attorneys General, the California Energy Commission, and the City of New York in filing the lawsuit.
“Today’s ruling means that the Trump Administration may no longer block common-sense energy efficiency standards. This is a tremendous victory for the American people and for our planet,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The California Department of Justice will continue to hold the Trump Administration, indeed all polluters, accountable. The stakes could not be higher – climate change is the most important global environmental issue of our time. Our citizens have a right to be part of the climate change solution.”
“The Trump administration has made a point of rolling back basic, common sense energy efficiency standards – putting polluters before everyday New Yorkers and Americans,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Our coalition of Attorneys General has made clear that we’ll use every tool at our disposal to protect our public health, our environment, and consumers’ pocketbooks. Today’s court decision is an important victory in fighting back against the Trump Administration’s ‘polluter first’ agenda. We will continue to fight to ensure the Trump administration meets its obligations to New Yorkers and the law.”
Over a 30-year period, these energy efficiency standards are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 98.8 million tons. That is comparable to taking more than 21 million cars off the road for one year. Consumer savings are estimated to be $8.4 billion.
The energy efficiency standards were approved by the Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at DOE in December 2016. As is required, the standards then underwent two procedural steps. First, they were subjected to a 45-day period for submission of correction requests. Once this period closed, the DOE was required to make any necessary corrections and submit these rules for publication in the Federal Register, making the rules legally enforceable. The DOE failed to complete this final step.
In the lawsuit, Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman highlighted that the states have significant interests in reducing energy use and increasing energy efficiency, in protecting their populations and environments, and in enforcing the provisions of their laws designed to foster energy efficiency and reduce global warming-related impacts. Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman underscored that these efforts would be harmed by the DOE’s illegal decision not to publish the energy efficiency standards.
Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman were joined in the filing of this lawsuit by the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The California Energy Commission and the City of New York also joined in the lawsuit.
A copy of the Order Denying Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss and Granting Plaintiffs’ Motions for Summary Judgment is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.