Trump Administration Energy Efficiency Delay Ruled Illegal

The Energy Department’s delay of four energy efficiency standards was against the law.

A federal court ruled on the side of both the environment and consumers yesterday when it declared delays to four energy efficiency standards illegal. NRDC—alongside other public interest groups, 11 states, and the City of New York—sued the U.S. Department of Energy after it had inexplicably delayed the last step in making the thoroughly vetted standards official for over a year.

“The Trump administration’s baffling decision to block the final procedural step could have cost Americans $8 billion in higher energy bills and created uncertainty for U.S. manufacturers,” said Kit Kennedy, the senior director of the Climate & Clean Energy program at NRDC.

The standards affected portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies (the battery backup systems used to keep electronics running if the power goes out), certain commercial and industrial air compressors, and packaged boilers. Together, they will prevent 99 million metric tons of carbon pollution over the next 30 years—equal to powering 10.6 million U.S. homes annually.

Similar efficiency laws are commonplace and have been since the Reagan administration, affecting everything from laptop chargers to air conditioners, and have saved Americans billions.

Declaring the Trump administration’s stalling as “a violation of the Department’s duties,” the court has given the Energy Department 28 days to officially publish the standards in the Federal Register. “The decision sends an unmistakable message that the Trump administration can’t flout the law,” Kennedy said.

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