AG James Sues Trump Admin for Shirking
Responsibility to Update National Energy Efficiency Standards
Failure to Strengthen Standards for 25 Consumer and Commercial Products
Named in Suit Would Cost Consumers More Than $580 Billion and Add More
Than 2 Billion Tons of Air Pollution By 2050
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 16 states and the city of New York, today announced a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) for failing to meet legal deadlines for reviewing and updating national energy efficiency standards for 25 categories of common consumer and commercial products and industrial equipment. These categories include home appliances such as washers and dryers, refrigerators and freezers, microwave ovens, room air conditioners, and water heaters. The deadlines for updating several of the standards — set by Congress in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act — were passed more than four years ago.
“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 Attorney General 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 Energy Policy and Conservation Act — or “EPCA” — authorizes national energy efficiency standards for a wide variety of consumer and commercial products and industrial equipment. Among other provisions, it establishes initial minimum energy efficiency standards and required DOE to develop new or amended standards for product categories covered by the act. Additionally, to ensure that standards maximize efficiency level that is “technologically feasible and economically justified,” the act requires that DOE meet certain deadlines for reviewing and revising standards on a periodic basis.
In today’s lawsuit — filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York — the coalition argues that the Trump DOE’s failure to meet federal statutory deadlines for reviewing and strengthening energy efficiency standards for the 25 named product categories violates EPCA. The coalition charges that DOE’s failure to meet these statutory deadlines deprives the states, their residents, and their businesses of the benefits strengthened standards, including lower energy bills, a more reliable electricity grid, and reduced emissions of harmful air pollutants that contribute to climate change and harm public health. The coalition asks the court to require DOE to comply with the Act’s statutory deadlines and other requirements according to an expeditious schedule.
Today, energy efficiency standards established under EPCA cover more than 60 categories of residential and commercial products and commercial equipment. Together, these products use 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. DOE estimates that, by 2030, efficiency standards completed through 2016 will save more energy than the entire nation consumes in one year and will save consumers more than $2 trillion on their utility bills.
Attorney General James is joined in today’s lawsuit by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and the city of New York.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Timothy Hoffman and Lisa S. Kwong, and Environmental Scientist Linda M. Wilson of the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Senior Counsel for Air Pollution and Climate Change Litigation Michael J. Myers, Bureau Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic, and Chief Counsel for Federal Initiatives Matthew Colangelo. The Environmental Protection Bureau is part of the Division of Social Justice, led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux, and all under the oversight of First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.