Groups threaten to sue Energy Department over 26 delayed efficiency standard updates

Groups threaten to sue Energy Department over 26 delayed efficiency standard updates

A coalition of environmental and other groups on Monday threatened to sue the Department of Energy (DOE) over missed deadlines to update energy efficiency standards for products such as appliances. 

A notice of intent to sue filed by the organizations says they will sue the Energy Department in 60 days over its failure to update 26 standards.

The groups will likely end up filing their suit, as DOE is not expected to update all of these standards within the time frame.

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The deadline for the department to review the efficiency standards for items including water heaters, refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers go back as far as 2016 although most are more recent. 

“DOE under the Trump Administration has repeatedly and systemically failed to comply with these basic and important duties,” the letter says, referring to the department’s legal obligations to update or review the standards. 

“If DOE does not comply with its duty to complete the actions ... to review and update the standards for these products within sixty days, we intend to bring suit to compel it to do so,” it continues. 

The letter also states that updating these standards will allow the country to use less energy, resulting in consumer savings and less air pollution. 

In response to congressional questioning, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said last month that he would complete “as many [rules] as I possibly can” by the end of the year. 

“The number of missed legal deadlines for new standards has grown from three to 26 since President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE took office,” replied Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) at the time. 

Under the Trump administration, DOE has rolled back energy efficiency regulations for lightbulbs pushed by the Obama administration and has proposed doing so for dishwashers, too.