Trump's Delay of Energy-Efficiency Rules Prompts Lawsuit From 10 States

by | April 5, 2017

By Erik Larson and Andrew Harris

Ten states led by Democrats and a handful of national environmental groups sued the Trump administration, claiming it's violating federal law by delaying energy-efficiency standards intended to save Americans almost $24 billion.

Six rules for ceiling fans, walk-in coolers and other consumer products that are being blocked by President Donald Trump have been projected to slash emissions of carbon dioxide by 292 million tons, according to a statement Monday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The rules created under former President Barack Obama's administration were to go into effect on March 20, but they were delayed until Sept. 30 without explanation.

"This is yet another example of how the Trump administration's polluter-first energy policy has real and harmful impacts on the public health, environment _ and pocketbooks _ of New Yorkers," Schneiderman, who's leading the coalition suing the U.S. Department of Energy, said in the statement.

The lawsuit is the latest challenge to the Trump administration by groups of Democratic-led states seeking to slow the implementation of the president's policy initiatives. Trump has promised to cut regulations by as much as 75 percent to boost job growth.

The Justice Department didn't immediately reply to a request for comment. The Energy Department said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

The Natural Resources Defense Council joined a separate lawsuit over the same delay to the rules. The coalition filed a petition for review of the Energy Department's actions on March 31 in the federal appeals court in Manhattan.

"The Trump administration needs to do its job and follow the law on energy efficiency," Kit Kennedy, a director at the NRDC, said in a statement. "These inexplicable delays are hurting the pocketbooks of America's families and businesses, and creating uncertainty for manufacturers."

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the City of New York, also joined the litigation.

(Larson reported from New York, Harris from Washington.)

(c)2017 Bloomberg News