Press Release

State AGs Support DOE Energy Efficiency Efforts; Urge Further Improvements to DOE’s Process Rule

AGs support DOE’s proposal to revise the Process Rule and urge further action to provide “consumer and environmental benefits of energy efficiency to the American public.”

New York, N.Y. — A coalition of 17 attorneys general and the City of New York, led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, filed comments on Monday, September 13 in support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) notice of proposed revisions to the Process Rule. The Process Rule governs the way the agency amends energy efficiency standards for covered appliances and equipment under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The coalition explained that the proposal would reverse many Trump-era changes to the Process Rule that had “created unnecessary obstacles for DOE’s energy efficiency regulations and, in turn, the provision of their benefits to the public.”The comments also urge DOE to “make limited additional changes and return the Process Rule to its intended role of facilitating, instead of obstructing, DOE’s energy efficiency program.”

“Sometimes procedural changes can bring real benefits,” said Bethany Davis Noll, Executive Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center. “With their long history of advocating on these efficiency rules, the AGs here highlight real opportunities that DOE has to hold the Process Rule to a higher standard – to the benefit of the environment and consumers.”

The attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C., and the City of New York joined AG Bonta in filing Monday’s comments.

Background — In February 2019, the DOE issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that revised and limited the scope of the Process Rule. Following the decision, California Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 15 attorneys general in filing comments to oppose the revision of the Process Rule, pointing out that DOE’s energy efficiency program had delivered $2 trillion dollars in consumer savings and avoided 2.6 billion tons of carbon emissions, achieving many of these benefits in rulemakings subject to the Process Rule as it stood pre-revision. In January 2020, DOE released its final rule revising the Process Rule, largely ignoring the concerns the attorneys general had expressed. In April 2020, California Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 14 attorneys general in filing a petition for review challenging DOE’s final rule.

Following President Biden’s January 2021 Executive Order 13990, which directed federal agencies to identify and reconsider regulatory actions taken by the prior administration that undermined or weakened the federal government’s actions to protect the environment, DOE began a review of the Trump-era changes to the Process Rule.


About the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center
The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law is a non-partisan academic center dedicated to the study and support of state attorneys general in their work defending and promoting clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies.