U.S. PIRG and other advocacy groups file new federal lawsuit over energy standards for incandescent light bulbs

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Josh Chetwynd

Mike Landis


NEW YORK– U.S. PIRG, along with several other public interest organizations, filed a federal lawsuit today against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The suit challenges the agency’s decision not to update energy efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs, which threatens to increase carbon pollution and increase consumer utility bills. A coalition of state attorneys general also filed a similar lawsuit today.

The lawsuit centers on the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which provides a comprehensive program for improving the energy efficiency of many consumer products, including light bulbs. EPCA contains a “backstop” efficiency standard for light bulbs that has taken effect because DOE failed to conduct required rulemakings. EPCA also contains an “anti-backsliding” provision that prohibits DOE from taking any action that would loosen energy efficiency standards for covered light bulbs.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, seeks to have the court overturn DOE’s decision not to implement improved efficiency standards on Jan. 1, 2020, as EPCA requires.

“DOE’s action violates federal law,” said Mike Landis, U.S. PIRG’s Litigation Director. “EPCA clearly prevents DOE from moving backward on energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, but that’s exactly what DOE is trying to do with this flawed and unlawful rule.”

The other petitioners in the lawsuit are Consumer Federation of America, Environment America, Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club. Earthjustice is counsel for some of the petitioners.