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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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November 4, 2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SUES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OVER ROLLBACK OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS

Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general and New York City, today filed a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) challenging its final rule rolling back energy efficiency standards for certain lightbulbs.

The lawsuit alleges that the rollback of the energy efficiency requirements for certain lightbulbs would unlawfully delay the adoption of energy efficiency goals, undermine state and local energy policy, and increase consumer and environmental costs.

“The Department of Energy’s rule to roll back lightbulb regulations is unlawful and is yet another step back in progress toward energy efficiency,” Raoul said. “As with other federal energy policies implemented over the last two years, this arbitrary rule leaves consumers with the cost of higher power bills and increased climate change-causing carbon emissions.”

In comments submitted on May 3, Raoul and a coalition of attorneys general asserted that the DOE should maintain the stricter, environmentally sound definitions enacted by the Obama administration in 2017, which expanded the definition of general service lamps (GSLs) to include seven previously unregulated types of lightbulbs. By including those types of bulbs as GSLs, the 2017 definitions mean they are subject to the congressionally-imposed GSL minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt applicable on Jan. 1, 2020. The rollback would remove those lightbulbs from the GSL efficiency, costing consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025, or $100 per household per year.

By reversing the 2017 rules, the DOE is enacting a less stringent standard in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Raoul and the coalition argue that this action is arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act.

In addition to filing the lawsuit, Raoul and the coalition submitted comments opposing the DOE’s related proposal to not amend (and strengthen) energy efficiency standards for common pear-shaped incandescent lightbulbs. According to the DOE’s own analysis, if department were to adopt stronger energy efficiency standards for these bulbs, the net present value of the benefits to the nation would equal up to $4.171 billion.

Joining Raoul in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as New York City.

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