SACRAMENTO, Feb. 26, 2020 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, co-leading with New York a coalition of 16 attorneys general and the City of New York, yesterday filed a lawsuit in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Department of Energy’s (DOE) final determinationrejecting stronger energy efficiency standards for common light bulbs. This unlawful and ill-advised decision would increase greenhouse gas emissions and consumers’ energy costs. It also ignores direction from Congress to transition the nation to inexpensive, efficient, and widely available lighting sources. Approximately three billion lighting sockets – nearly half of all lighting sockets in U.S. homes – contain bulbs affected by this proposal. DOE’s decision directly impacts consumers who stand to lose significant energy savings.

“The Trump Administration’s obsession with dismantling commonsense standards that save consumers money and help the environment is breathtaking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The only people who benefit from this dim-witted plan are those profiting from inefficient energy use.”

On December 27, 2019, DOE issued its final determination halting energy efficiency improvements to the lightbulbs in question, also known as General Service Incandescent Lamps (GSIL). It concluded that improved GSIL standards were not economically justified. DOE’s decision is part of an ongoing effort by the agency to stifle progress in energy efficiency. The agency’s decision attempts to undermine a provision in federal law that moves retailers away from selling lightbulbs that do not meet the minimum standard of 45 lumens per watt. This decision would cost consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025 – a $100 loss per household per year.

DOE’s decision amounts to a failure to enact a stronger standard in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. In addition, the attorneys general assert that DOE’s proposal is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act and fails to comply with requirements for agency actions under the National Environmental Policy Act. 

Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing this lawsuit are the Attorneys General of New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of New York.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.