Press Release

State Attorneys General Sue Energy Department Over Widespread Failure to Review and Update Energy Efficiency Standards

Coalition seeks court order to compel Energy Department to comply with its statutory obligations, complete responsibilities ‘unreasonably delayed and unlawfully withheld.'

Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — A coali­tion of 15 state attor­neys gen­er­al led by New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James filed a law­suit against the Ener­gy Depart­ment today over the department’s fail­ure to com­ply with its statu­to­ry oblig­a­tions under the Ener­gy Pol­i­cy and Con­ser­va­tion Act (EPCA) to update ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards for 25 cat­e­gories of con­sumer and com­mer­cial appli­ances.

The Trump Administration’s aban­don­ment of its respon­si­bil­i­ty to update key ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards is not only ille­gal, it also threat­ens to wors­en air pol­lu­tion and cost con­sumers bil­lions of dol­lars,” said AG James. This law­suit seeks to enforce the law and com­pel prompt action to strength­en these crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant and impact­ful ener­gy-sav­ing mea­sures. My office will con­tin­ue to force the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion to ful­ly meet its legal respon­si­bil­i­ties to pro­tect the health, envi­ron­ment, and well-being of all Amer­i­cans.”

The Trump administration’s abject fail­ure to imple­ment the ener­gy con­ser­va­tion pro­gram is part of a broad­er pat­tern of dis­re­gard for con­sumers’ inter­ests, cli­mate change and basic com­mon sense,” said David J. Hayes, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter. The admin­is­tra­tion is allow­ing appli­ances to con­sume more ener­gy, while also seek­ing to ensure that the pow­er grid itself remains depen­dent on more expen­sive, more pol­lut­ing sources of elec­tric­i­ty. Con­sumers pay the price at every step: with high­er util­i­ty bills, with increased med­ical expens­es as a result of con­tin­ued expo­sure to harm­ful air pol­lu­tion, and with the bal­loon­ing soci­etal costs of heat waves, drought, flood­ing and oth­er cli­mate impacts.”

The attor­neys gen­er­al seek a court order requir­ing [the Ener­gy Depart­ment] to com­ply with its statu­to­ry dead­lines and oth­er require­ments for such prod­ucts accord­ing to an expe­di­tious sched­ule to be deter­mined and enforced” by the court. Strength­ened effi­cien­cy stan­dards for the prod­uct cat­e­gories at issue could save over $580 bil­lion in ener­gy costs and avoid over two bil­lion met­ric tons of CO2 emis­sions by the year 2050.”

The attor­neys gen­er­al empha­size that the EPCA ener­gy con­ser­va­tion pro­gram is a win-win for con­sumers and for the cli­mate. The more than 60 cat­e­gories of appli­ances cov­ered by the EPCA account for about 90 per­cent of the total amount of ener­gy con­sumed in homes in the Unit­ed States, 60 per­cent of the ener­gy used in the country’s com­mer­cial build­ings, and 30 per­cent of the ener­gy used in our nation’s indus­tries.” By 2030, exist­ing EPCA ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards will cumu­la­tive­ly save con­sumers more than $2 tril­lion in ener­gy costs, and will yield 7.9 bil­lion met­ric tons of CO2 emis­sions reduc­tions, an amount greater than all Unit­ed States green­house gas emis­sions gen­er­at­ed in a year.”

The attor­neys gen­er­al of Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, Con­necti­cut, Illi­nois, Maine, Mary­land, Mass­a­chu­setts, Michi­gan, Min­neso­ta, New Jer­sey, Ore­gon, Ver­mont, Wash­ing­ton and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., along with the City of New York, joined AG James in fil­ing the lawsuit.

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About the State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter
The State Ener­gy & Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Cen­ter (State Impact Cen­ter) is a non-par­ti­san Cen­ter at the NYU School of Law that is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing state attor­neys gen­er­al fight against reg­u­la­to­ry roll­backs and advo­cate for clean ener­gy, cli­mate change, and envi­ron­men­tal val­ues and pro­tec­tions. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it our web­site.