WASHINGTON — The next steps in the lawsuit against the Department of Energy’s (DOE) regional efficiency standards for residential air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces have been announced by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Public Gas Association (APGA) against the DOE over the consensus agreement direct final rule. APGA’s petition to appeal the rule is based on the claim that DOE failed to follow proper procedures in issuing the rules for regional efficiency standards.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has intervened in this proceeding in support of the respondent, DOE, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the city of New York, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, and the Consumer Federation of America.

Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) have intervened in support of the plaintiff, APGA. The court has directed the intervenors on each side to submit a joint brief.

The court-ordered briefing schedule is as follows:

• Petitioner’s brief (APGA) — May 14, 2012

• Intervenors supporting the petitioner (HARDI and ACCA) — May 29, 2012

• Respondent’s brief (DOE) — June 28, 2012

• Intervenors supporting DOE (AHRI, NRDC, et. al.) — July 13, 2012

• Intervenors for petitioner reply brief (HARDI and ACCA) — July 27, 2012

• Petitioner’s reply brief (APGA) — July 27, 2012

• Final briefs (all parties) — Aug. 17, 2012

The court has not scheduled an oral argument; however, APGA may request one. If so, oral arguments would take place in the fall, and any final decision by the court would not be issued until December 2012 or later.

Publication date: 04/30/2012