WASHINGTON — The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order accepting the March 11 joint settlement agreement in the ongoing regional standards lawsuit. The court’s action officially ends the 2 ½-year legal battle between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and several organizations, including Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI); Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); and ACCA.
The settlement agreement, which was filed jointly on March 11, vacates the contentious regional furnace efficiency standards and restarts the rulemaking process, this time giving stakeholders more opportunities to provide input throughout the rulemaking process. The settlement also gives the industry an 18-month sell-through period to comply with the Jan. 1, 2015, efficiency standards for split system air conditioners in order to help avoid stranded inventory. Additionally, as part of the agreement, the DOE has agreed not to penalize distributors as part of enforcement of the standard.
The court’s order represents a great victory for the organizations that were involved in developing the final settlement agreement.