WASHINGTON — The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the American Public Gas Association (APGA) v. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regional efficiency standards lawsuit in opposition to the motion filed by Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) to be substituted as a petitioner in the case, so that it can challenge DOE’s direct final rule on residential air conditioner and heat pump standards.

HARDI’s motion was made in response to the court’s consideration of a settlement of the lawsuit that would result in the furnace rule being vacated and DOE initiating a new rulemaking to set new efficiency standards for residential furnaces. HARDI wants to continue the lawsuit as it relates to air conditioners and heat pumps. AHRI was joined by environmental advocacy groups and DOE in separate filings in opposition to HARDI’s motion.

AHRI’s motion argues that HARDI’s motion would result in an undue burden on manufacturers, as extensive time and capital investments are required to comply with the new energy efficiency standards, which were proposed by AHRI and the efficiency advocates as part of a consensus agreement and promulgated by DOE under authority of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). If granted, AHRI said HARDI’s motion would expand the scope of the litigation beyond the claims made by APGA in filing the lawsuit, which was specifically limited to the residential furnace standards in the direct final rule. While AHRI supports the efficiency standards in the final rule, AHRI’s members are concerned that regulatory and litigation delays have severely limited the time for manufacturers to prepare to meet the compliance deadlines.

Publication date: 2/4/2013