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Supreme Court Denies Petition to Hear Case

July 3, 2006
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ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) to hear its appeal of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision that the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Title 20 regulations were not preempted by the federal Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA). In denying review of the case, a lower court's injunction against the CEC's enforcement of its energy-efficiency regulations, which regulate information reporting and product labeling for appliances, will be lifted.

"With the 9th Circuit's decision not being overturned, manufacturers that do not comply with the CEC's Title 20 requirements cannot sell or install their products in California even though the products comply with all federal requirements," said Stephen Yurek, ARI's general counsel.

In 2003, the U.S. District Court in Sacramento ruled in favor of U.S. appliance manufacturers and placed an injunction against CEC's enforcement of its regulations for EPCA-covered products. The CEC appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco and won a 2-1 split decision in June 2005, reversing the lower court's verdict. ARI and the other associations then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision. On May 17, the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General submitted a legal brief to the U.S. Supreme Court recommending that the court decline to review the June 2005 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that upheld CEC regulations as not preempted by federal law.

"The purpose of EPCA was to ensure that U.S. manufacturers could operate in a stable, predictable environment, working toward compliance with one federal standard, rather than a patchwork of state or regional standards," said Yurek. "Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to hear our case allows other states to follow California's lead by setting their own conflicting appliance efficiency regulations, which will eventually hurt U.S. manufacturers and drive jobs overseas."

Publication date: 07/03/2006

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