Twelve state attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), on Tuesday filed a petition for review to eliminate a provision in Energy Department efficiency standards they say allows for inefficient residential furnaces and commercial water heaters.
The Trump administration issued the rules during its final week. The provision treats heaters that use less efficient, non-condensing venting as a separate class of products requiring separate regulations. The Energy Department has already identified both rules as contradicting environmental executive orders signed by the president, according to Jamess office.
The Energy Department issued a proposed interpretive rule earlier in the Trump administration arguing the inefficient technology in question was a feature and that an industry standard alone could not phase out its use. James was among the state attorneys general who filed comments in September 2019 pushing back against this interpretation of the law.
Restoring the energy efficiency regulations is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change, save consumers money, and create jobs, James said in a statement. However, in its deregulatory fever, the Trump administration sought to dismantle our nations highly successful energy conservation program.
“By contrast, the Biden administration recognizes the tremendous value that energy efficiency standards have to public health, our environment, and the pocketbooks of consumers,” she continued. “We are taking this action today to support President BidenJoe BidenThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Split screen: Biden sells stimulus; GOP highlights borderRNC to shadow Biden as he promotes COVID-19 relief billDems’ momentum hits quagmire over infrastructure plansMOREs sincere efforts to restore these critically important standards.
I’m taking action to restore two energy efficiency standards that were rolled back by the previous administration.
These regulations will help fight climate change, save consumers money, and create jobs.
NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) March 16, 2021
James is joined the lawsuit by the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Attorneys general for the City of New York and the District of Columbia also joined the challenge.
State attorneys general, together with consumer and environmental advocates, have a solid case that the departments logic here does not comport with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The court should throw cold water on this rule, Bethany Davis Noll, executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, said in a statement.
The Hill has reached out to the Department of Energy for comment.