By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A coalition of U.S. states has filed a broad legal challenge against what it called the Trump administration’s illegal suspension of rules to improve the energy efficiency of ceiling fans, air conditioners, portable air and other products.
The challenge, also joined by environmental groups, came after the U.S. Department of Energy last month delayed proposed standards under the Obama administration to reduce air pollution and operating costs associated with products.
Ten Democratic attorneys general, in addition to New York City and a Pennsylvania regulator, notified Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday of their plan to sue within 60 days for stalling proposed standards for air compressors, commercial furnaces, and air conditioners. portable air, power supplies and walkers. in refrigerators and freezers.
The same group, excluding Maryland, petitioned the federal appeals court in New York on Friday to force the administration to implement ceiling fan efficiency standards that should have gone into effect two weeks ago but were delayed until the 30th. of September.
Implementation was delayed after White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus ordered federal agencies on Jan.20 to suspend the new regulations until their new leaders could review them. The Obama administration issued a similar directive in 2009.
The Energy Department said it does not comment on pending litigation.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that adopting “common sense” efficiency standards would dramatically reduce air pollution, including carbon dioxide, mercury and methane.
He said enough electricity would be saved to serve 36 million homes a year and save consumers and businesses about $ 24 billion.
“Leaving the final rules in regulatory ‘limbo’ has very real and negative economic and environmental consequences, essentially thwarting the energy conservation goals of Congress,” the states said in their letter to Perry.
The letter was signed by officials from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New York City, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Consumer Federation of America, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club sent Perry a similar letter Monday threatening to litigate.
Both letters accused the Department of Energy of ignoring its obligation under federal law to publish final efficiency rules in the Federal Register.
In notices published last month, the Department of Energy said that Perry had just started his work on March 3 and needed more time for “further review and consideration of new regulations.”
The petition is New York et al v US Department of Energy et al., US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, No. 17-918.