HVAC Breaking News / Standards & Legislation

Dec. 11, 2013: Court Adopts Regional Standards Briefing Schedule

Delay Means Lawsuit Could Stretch to Fall of 2014 and Beyond

Those involved in the ongoing regional standards case may get a chance to present their arguments in court — but likely not until next summer.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit adopted the briefing schedule on Dec. 9, three months after a briefing schedule was jointly submitted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); the American Public Gas Association (APGA); Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA); the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI); and other parties involved in the regional standards lawsuit.

Those involved in the lawsuit now have until mid-April to brief the court on three issues — the settlement agreement between the APGA and DOE, HARDI’s motion to continue the case, and the merits of the lawsuit itself.

“Due to the delay in the court issuing this order, the last brief in the case won't be due until April 15, 2014,” said David Calabrese, AHRI's general counsel and senior vice president, public policy. “At the same time, the court has indicated that it will schedule an oral hearing for the case, likely to be in the summer of 2014. From a practical standpoint, this means that the case will likely not be resolved until late fall of 2014, at the earliest.”

“A lot of us are concerned that the Jan. 1, 2015, compliance date for regional standards on air conditioners is going to come before this case is settled,” said Charlie McCrudden, senior vice president of government relations at ACCA. He added that the numerous possible outcomes of the lawsuit make it hard for the industry to plan ahead while the lawsuit is ongoing.

Jon Melchi, director of government affairs at HARDI, said his organization — which has filed a motion to substitute as petitioner in the lawsuit in hopes of vacating the regional standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps — hopes to “get this resolved as quickly as possible,” though it is “more important to get it done right than to get it done quickly.”

To view a timeline of events in the regional standards case, including links to our thorough coverage of the ongoing lawsuit, visit http://bit.ly/RegionalStandards

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