Legal Action

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and 10 Attorneys General Sue U.S. Energy Department over Stalled Energy-Efficiency Rules

June 14, 2017 | Topic: Rights

Attorney General Shapiro: “I’m suing to make the Trump Administration follow the law and protect our environment.”

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro is suing the U.S. Department of Energy over its failure to finalize energy-use standards designed to save consumers and businesses billions of dollars, conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy-use rules, approved by the Department of Energy in December but never finalized by the Trump Administration, would save consumers and businesses an estimated $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 159 million tons, and conserve 242 billion kilowatt hours of electricity over 30 years. The rules cover portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and freezers, air compressors, commercial boilers and uninterruptible power supplies.

Attorney General Shapiro and 10 other Attorneys General filed the lawsuit yesterday in federal district court in California.

“I’m suing to make the Trump Administration follow the law and protect our environment,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water, and I’m taking legal action to protect that right.”

The energy-efficiency standards were approved in December. As required by federal law, the rules then went through several steps – with the final step being publication in the Federal Register, which makes the rules legally enforceable. The Trump Administration’s Energy Department never completed this final step, which is a clear violation of federal environmental and administrative law.

“This is about standing up for the rule of law,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “These energy-efficiency standards were approved to protect consumers, small businesses and our environment and the Trump Administration can’t simply refuse to put them in place.”

Attorney General Shapiro has made environmental protection a cornerstone of his leadership of the Office of Attorney General. In his first 100 days, Attorney General Shapiro has hired Steve Santarsiero as Chief Deputy for Environmental Protection, settled a multi-state lawsuit against Volkswagen over emissions violations, and directed every division in the Office of Attorney General to prioritize environmental issues in the course of their work.

“Whether it’s suing an international company for emission violations or standing up to the President and his administration on energy rules and climate change, I’m committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s natural resources,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “It’s a constitution right and we’ll fight every day to uphold that right for every Pennsylvanian.”

In addition to Attorney General Shapiro, other Attorneys General filing the lawsuit included:

  • Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General
  • Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General
  • George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General
  • Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General
  • Janet T. Mills, Maine Attorney General
  • Brian E. Frosh, Maryland Attorney General
  • Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General
  • Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General
  • T.J. Donavan, Vermont Attorney General
  • Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General
  • The City of New York is also a party in the lawsuit.

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