Dem AGs, green groups sue Trump over paused energy efficiency rules

Dem AGs, green groups sue Trump over paused energy efficiency rules
© Getty

Eleven state attorneys general are joining environmentalists in suing the Department of Energy (DOE) over a handful of energy efficiency regulations that the Trump administration has stopped from taking effect.

The rules, covering appliances such as walk-in freezers and air compressors, were made final in December under the Obama administration.

But Trump officials never completed the administrative steps to let the rules get published in the Federal Register. The lack of action was part of the new administration’s pause and review on regulations across the government, and the opponents say that was illegal.

“These common sense energy efficiency standards are vital to our public health, our environment, and consumers’ pocketbooks. Yet the Trump administration’s policies put polluters before everyday Americans,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the lawsuit along with California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCalifornia Dem sworn in as House member after delay Party leaders spar over swearing in of Becerra replacement State politics hold up California's new congressman MORE, said in a Tuesday statement.

ADVERTISEMENT
“These delays are not only baffling, they’re unnecessary and illegal,” Kit Kennedy, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s energy and transportation program, said in a statement. 

“The Trump administration is inexplicably blocking the final step for standards that the Department of Energy last year signed off on as cost-effective with major benefits for consumers and the environment.”

A similar coalition sued earlier this year to get the DOE to move forward on ceiling fan efficiency standards. The administration let that rule take effect after the lawsuit was filed.

Taken together, the five regulations at issue were estimated by the DOE to save consumers and businesses $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 160 million tons and conserve over 242 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over 30 years.

The litigants filed their lawsuit Tuesday in the federal District Court for the District of Northern California.