Attorneys General Becerra & Schneiderman: Trump Administration Violated the Law By Not Publishing Energy Efficiency Standards

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) over its failure to comply with the law and publish in the Federal Register finalized energy efficiency standards for five products: portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers and commercial packaged boilers. 

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. Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman were joined by a coalition of 11 Attorneys General and the City of New York in filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

“Every family and every business can be part of the climate change solution by using more energy-efficient appliances,” said Attorney General Becerra. “However, the Department of Energy is blocking common-sense energy efficiency standards. This is absurd. The Trump Administration should stop stalling and start following the law."

“These common sense energy efficiency standards are vital to our public health, our environment, and consumers’ pocketbooks. Yet the Trump administration’s policies put polluters before everyday Americans,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We won’t hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to compel the Trump administration to meet its obligations to New Yorkers and the law.” 

The energy efficiency standards were approved by the Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at DOE in December 2016. As is required under the law, the standards then went through two procedural steps. First, they were subject to a 45-day period for submission of correction requests. Once this period closed, the DOE had a 30-day period to submit these rules for publication in the Federal Register, which makes the rules legally enforceable.

The DOE did not complete this final step. This is a clear violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Federal Register Act.

In the lawsuit, which was filed after a 60-day notice of intent to sue letter was delivered to the Department of Energy, Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman highlighted that their states have significant interests in increased energy efficiency and reduced energy use, 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 added that these efforts are harmed by the DOE’s illegal decision not to publish the energy efficiency standards.

Joining Attorneys General Becerra and Schneiderman in the lawsuit are Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General; Janet T. Mills, Maine Attorney General; George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General; Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General; T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General; Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General; Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General; Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, and Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General. The City of New York is also a Plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Last month, after Attorney General Becerra and a coalition of Attorneys General sued over energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans, the Trump administration reversed course and ended its delay.

A copy of the complaint is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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PDF icon State Coalition Complaint.pdf551.92 KB