American Public Gas Assoc. v. Department of Energy

Date: April 24th, 2014

Topic: Energy

Type: Amicus Brief, Defense of Federal Standards

Jurisdiction: California, Massachusetts, New York

In 2011, DOE issued a final rule raising efficiency standards for residential furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975. That law requires DOE to determine whether more stringent efficiency requirements for certain consumer products and industrial equipment would be technologically feasible, economically justified, and energy-saving. The final rule was based on an agreement reached by a group of environmental organizations, representatives of industry, and government representatives. The rule was finalized in October 2011, and was to take effect in 2013.

The American Public Gas Association, a trade group, challenged the portion of the rule which set a 90% efficiency standard for residential furnaces in the northern region on several procedural grounds, by using the direct final rule process to issue a standard opposed on the merits by several relevant parties, improperly interpreting the evidentiary record, relying on a non-public technical support document, and failing to take into account additional relevant factors. The AGs of California, Massachusetts and New York intervened on behalf of DOE, arguing that it properly exercised its rule-making discretion under EPCA. In 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded for further rule-making the challenged portion of the rule. DOE has begun a revised rule-making process, issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in March 2015 and a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in September 2016.

Citation: American Public Gas Assoc. v. Department of Energy, No. 11-1485, 2014 WL 316551 (C.A.D.C., April 24, 2014)

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