Attorney General Lockyer Hails Victory in Important Energy Efficiency Case

Court Invalidates Bush Administration's Lower Standards for Air Conditioners, Heaters

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued the following statement on today's U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated the Bush Administration's weakened energy efficiency standards for air conditioners and heaters:

"In rejecting the Bush Administration's attempt to turn back the clock on energy efficiency, the court has boosted efforts to reduce consumers' energy bills and protect California from future power shortages. Air conditioners and heaters are used most heavily during times of peak demand. Increased efficiency will help California avoid blackouts, price spikes and grid instability. The result will be a safer, less expensive energy future for the state and its residents."

In 2001, California, nine other states (New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island), and the Natural Resources Defense Council sued to block the U.S. Department of Energy's weakened efficiency standards. The rules rolled back tougher standards promulgated by the previous Administration.

In today's ruling, the 2nd Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs' contention that the less stringent standards violated provisions of the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act that prohibit adoption of standards that decrease existing energy efficiency requirements. The court's action means the prior, tougher standards are now operative.

# # #