A coalition of U.S. states has mounted a broad legal challenge over what it called the Trump administration’s illegal suspension of energy efficiency rules for ceiling fans, portable air conditioners and other products.
The challenge came after the U.S. Department of Energy last month set plans to delay rules proposed under the Obama administration, and intended to improve the efficiency of several consumer and commercial products.
Ten Democratic attorneys general, plus New York City and a Pennsylvania regulator, on Monday notified Energy Secretary Rick Perry of their plan to sue in 60 days for stalling proposed standards for air compressors, commercial boilers, portable air conditioners, power supplies, and walk-in coolers and freezers.
The same group, excluding Maryland, on Friday petitioned the federal appeals court in New York to force the administration to implement new ceiling fan efficiency standards that were to haven taken effect March 20, but were delayed to Sept. 30.
It was not immediately possible to quantify the financial impact of the new standards on manufacturers.
An Energy Department spokesman declined to comment. The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said adopting the new standards would dramatically reduce air pollution, including from carbon dioxide, mercury and methane.
He said enough electricity would be saved to serve 36 million households annually, and provide close to $24 billion of savings for consumers and businesses.
“Leaving the final rules in regulatory ‘limbo’ has very real, negative economic and environmental consequences, essentially frustrating Congress’ energy conservation goals,” the states said in a letter to Perry.
The states include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and were joined by New York City and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Consumer Federation of America, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club on Monday sent Perry a similar letter threatening litigation.
Both letters accused the Energy Department of ignoring its obligation under the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act to publish final efficiency rules in the Federal Register.
In notices published last month, the Energy Department said Perry began work in his job on March 3, and needed more time to conduct “further review and consideration of new regulations.”
The petition is New York et al v U.S. Department of Energy et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-918.
(Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Andrew Hay and Bernadette Baum)