Attorney General Racine Intervenes in Lawsuit to Defend Federal Energy Efficiency Standards for Light Bulbs

States Seek to Intervene to Support Pro-Environment Policy

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced today that he had joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with five other state attorneys general and a California state agency, in a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend federal light bulb regulations that protect the environment. In March, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) challenging energy efficiency regulations for light bulbs.

“These common-sense regulations would result in energy savings across the United States, including in the District,” Attorney General Racine said. “This means millions of tons fewer of greenhouse-gas emissions and billions fewer dollars spent on consumers’ energy bills. Along with California and our fellow states, we will do everything we can to defend this crucial protection for our environment and everyday consumers.”

The challenged regulations broaden under federal regulations which categories of “lamps,” or light bulbs, are subject to stringent energy standards. Under the regulations, the category would include incandescent light bulbs and other historically inefficient lighting technologies. The lamp regulations were finalized in January 2017 and would result in substantial reductions in energy usage and the associated emissions, as well as increased cost savings for consumers. Specifically, they are expected to save approximately 27 quadrillion BTUs of energy cumulatively over 30 years, saving consumers $120 billion and reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 1,400 million metric tons.

By moving to intervene in the lawsuit, Attorney General Racine and his counterparts are acting to protect the regulations in the event that federal officials elect to stop defending them.

In the motion, the attorneys general state that maintaining these rules is an important part of the District’s and states’ efforts to promote energy savings and that “any weakening or delay of the Lamp Rules would diminish their energy savings, to the detriment of the States’ natural resources, economies, and citizens.”

The motion was filed late Monday, April 17, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Besides the District and California, the attorneys general of Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington state joined the motion.

The Case is National Electrical Manufacturers’ Association v. Department of Energy. A copy of the motion is attached.