SAN FRANCISCO: New York, California and nine other states sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its failure to finalize energy-use limits for portable air conditioners and other products.
The new standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save businesses and consumers billions of dollars, and conserve enough energy to power more than 19 million households for a year, but the U.S. Department of Energy has not met a requirement to publish them by now, according to attorneys general who filed the lawsuit against the DOE in federal court in San Francisco.
That means the standards are not legally enforceable.
"The Department of Energy is blocking common-sense energy efficiency standards. This is absurd," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement announcing the suit. "The Trump Administration should stop stalling and start following the law."
The other states in the lawsuit are: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Maryland. The City of New York is also a plaintiff.
The Energy Department said in an email that it does not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit comes as the Trump administration has moved to weaken or dismantle federal efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
It reversed President Barack Obama's moratorium on leasing federal lands for coal mining and withdrew a requirement for more emissions data from oil and gas facilities. It has also stopped tracking the federal government's carbon emissions.
The energy efficiency standards at issue in the lawsuit also cover walk-in coolers and freezers, air compressors, commercial packaged boilers and uninterruptable power supplies. There is currently no federal energy standard for air compressors, uninterruptable power supplies or portable air conditioners, according to the lawsuit.
The Obama administration signed off on the energy efficiency standards for the products in December 2016 and posted them online for a 45-day review period intended to spot any errors. The DOE then had 30 days to submit the standards for publication, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the DOE to publish the new standards as final rules.
Environmental groups Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a separate lawsuit on Tuesday that also aims to get the same energy efficiency standards published.