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HARDI Fights so that Rulemaking Procedures are Followed

In response to Kyle Gargaro’s editorial “Time to Throw in the Towel on Regional Standards,” [June 10, 2013] I must wholeheartedly disagree with Gargaro’s analysis of the ongoing lawsuit surrounding regional efficiency standards. In his column, Gargaro acknowledges that the Department of Energy [DOE] erred in its development of the regional efficiency standards, yet he believes that HARDI [Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International] should seek to conclude the lawsuit in order to appease the DOE for the next round of efficiency rulemakings. He could not be more wrong.

One of the main reasons that HARDI has pledged to continue this battle is to make sure that such flagrant abuses of power do not happen again. We believe that what is best for our industry is to have regulations developed while using proper analysis and procedures. By law, the regulatory rulemaking process must include full consideration of stakeholder comments. To blatantly disregard the input of the people and businesses that these regulations will impact the most violates both the letter and spirit of the rulemaking process and ultimately leads to bad public policy.

Further, Gargaro states that the settlement proposed by the American Public Gas Association [APGA] and the Department of Energy is a “fair deal” and HARDI does not disagree. In fact, it is important to note that HARDI was the only organization, contrary to Gargaro’s statement, in the ongoing litigation to voice its support for the settlement proposal while the rest of the industry stayed silent. While HARDI is willing to support the settlement for the furnace standard and allow APGA to exit the litigation, all we have asked the court is to allow HARDI to continue our efforts to address the entire rule, inclusive of the air conditioner standards, which was the original position of APGA, HARDI, and ACCA [Air Conditioning Contractors of America]. The irony is that others in this lawsuit are making short-sighted decisions in the name of expediency, which have actually prolonged this process unnecessarily.

Gargaro states that he is concerned about the “reputation” of the industry with the DOE, a position which I consider to be wrong and naive. HARDI’s membership has been very clear that the organization needs to continue our efforts in this matter, and we believe our top priority should be protecting both the interests of our members and the welfare of our industry as a whole. Our membership is committed to holding the government accountable without regard to currying favor with the DOE. To settle for anything less leads us right back to the untenable position in which we currently find ourselves.

Our goal has been to get the correct verdict, and while we too would like to see the case move expediently, we are not willing to sell our members short by foregoing opportunities to state our case before the court. “Throwing in the towel” at the expense of our members and the entire industry’s well-being is not an option for us.

Brian Cobble
HARDI President

Publication date: 7/1/2013 

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