California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy over “its failure to comply with the law” and publish in the Federal Register finalized energy efficiency standards for five products.
The standards would apply to portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers and commercial packaged boilers.
The two officials say the standards would save consumers and businesses an estimated $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 159 million tons, and conserve the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of more than 19.3 million households over a 30-year period.
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 on June 13.
“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," Becerra said in a statement.
“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,” Schneiderman said.
The energy efficiency standards at the crux of the lawsuit were approved by the Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the Department of Energy in December 2016.
As 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 Department had a 30-day period to submit these rules for publication in the Federal Register, which makes the rules legally enforceable.
The agency did not complete this final step, “a clear violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Federal Register Act,” the lawsuit claims.
Joining Becerra and Schneiderman in the lawsuit are Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General; Janet Mills, Maine Attorney General; George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General; Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General; T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General; Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General; Brian 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, the plaintiffs say.