10 States Sue Trump Administration Over Energy Efficiency Standards


10 states, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are suing the Trump administration for suspending Obama-era rules that improve the energy efficiency of ceiling fans, portable air conditioners and other products. Some environmental groups have also signed on in support of the lawsuit.

At issue are rules designed to decrease air pollution emitted from cooling devices. In January, the Trump administration put implementation of any new rules on hold until they could be reviewed by the new white house staff. Regulatory review is a common practice for incoming presidential teams, however, Schneiderman says that by blocking implementation the Trump administration is reversing progress on clean air initiatives.

“By blocking these common sense standards, the administration is reversing progress in cleaning the air we breathe and fighting climate change – and denying consumers and businesses some $24 billion in savings,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement on the filing.

Schneiderman contends that the regulatory review process violates both the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) and Administrative Procedures Act (APA) by delaying the effective dates of the new rules and for failing to publish them in the Federal Register.

In addition to the suit, the coalition of attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, are also filing a petition over ceiling fan energy efficiency rules which were slated to go into effect two weeks ago, but have now been delayed until September.

The DOE published new energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans as a final rule on January 19, 2017, with an effective date for the rule of March 20, 2017. However, the Trump Administration has subsequently delayed the rule’s effective date twice – most recently pushing it back to September 30, 2017 – asserting that stalling the standards was a non-substantive action, and that seeking public input on the delay would be “impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest.”

The Trump administration has yet to respond with a new effective date for implementation and/or a full repeal plan.