New York sues Department of Energy over lapsed energy standards

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An Energy Star label on a washing machine at an appliance store in Mountain View, California on March 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) — New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, announced that she was leading a coalition of states to sue the Trump Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE). James’s office says the Department has shirked its responsibility to update national energy efficiency standards.

“The Trump Administration’s abandonment of its responsibility to update key energy efficiency standards is not only illegal, it also threatens to worsen air pollution and cost consumers billions of dollars,” said James. “This lawsuit seeks to enforce the law and compel prompt action to strengthen these critically important and impactful energy-saving measures.”

Specifically, the suit alleges that 25 types of consumer and commercial products require strengthening standards. Otherwise, James says, the evolving equipment and technology will cost taxpayers over $580 billion, while dumping two billion tons of pollution into the atmosphere over the next 30 years.

James says the DOE has failed to meet legal deadlines to review and update national energy efficiency standards for industrial equipment and home appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, air conditioners, and water heaters. Deadlines were passed by Congress through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) over four years ago, James says.

The other states on the lawsuit brought on Monday are Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia and the New York City.

The lawsuit alleges that, because these deadlines are unmet, citizens and businesses in those states risk having higher energy bills, an unreliable electricity grid, and even more polluting emissions.

The EPCA’s standards cover products that use about 90% U.S. residential energy, 60% of commercial energy, and 30% of industrial energy. The DOE has estimated that efficiency standards enacted through 2016 will save more energy than the nation consumes in a year, and a savings of over $2 trillion on consumer utility bills by 2030.

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