MADIGAN: ENVIRONMENTAL & CONSUMER BENEFITS OF FEDERAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS MUST NOT BE DELAYED
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that a federal court has ruled that national energy efficiency standards go into effect. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Thursday that the U.S. Department of Energy (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 several types of industrial and commercial equipment, including portable air conditioners, air compressors and commercial boilers.
Madigan and a coalition of 13 attorneys general, the city of New York and the California Energy Commission sued the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in June 2017 for violating the law by refusing to implement the energy efficiency standards that had been previously approved.
“Energy efficiency standards are common-sense measures that reduce pollution while saving people money on their energy bills,” Madigan said. “I am pleased the court agreed that these important standards must be implemented to benefit the environment and our economy.”
The energy efficiency standards were approved by the acting assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency at DOE in December 2016. It is estimated that the standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 98.8 million tons over a 30-year period, which is comparable to taking more than 21 million cars off the road for one year. Under the standards, consumers are estimated to save approximately $8.4 billion.
The standards were subject to a 45-day period for submission of correction requests, according the federal requirements. Once this period closed, the DOE was required to make any necessary corrections and publish the rules in the Federal Register. The DOE failed to complete this step. This week’s court ruling requires publication of the rules.
In the lawsuit, Madigan and the attorneys general argued the states have significant interests in reducing energy use and increasing energy efficiency, in protecting their residents and the public health in their states, and in enforcing the provisions of their laws designed to foster energy efficiency and reduce global warming-related impacts. The lawsuit argued that those efforts would be harmed by the DOE’s illegal decision not to publish the energy efficiency standards.
Joining Madigan in filing the 2017 lawsuit were the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington. The California Energy Commission and the city of New York also joined in the lawsuit.
The order is available here.