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NY, coalition of states sue over delays in energy-saving standards

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks during a news conference to announce the take down of a large organized crime ring, March 15, 2017 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is leading a coalition of states and municipalities in filing suit against the U.S. Department of Energy for delaying energy-saving standards for home and commercial cooling and heating products.

The legal actions — the latest salvos in Schneiderman’s ongoing battle with Trump administration policies — accuse the Department of Energy and its secretary, Rick Perry, of violating the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. Trump in a proposed budget released last month has telegraphed plans to roll back numerous energy-saving and climate-change initiatives, including Energy Star, which promotes efficient appliances and construction.

Schneiderman’s legal action — filed Friday along with attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont — takes issue with a notice filed by the Energy Department announcing a series of delays for efficiency standards for ceiling fans.

The states also filed notice over continued delays in the release of efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers, portable air conditioners, power-supply equipment and commercial boilers. The legal actions seek to have the efficiency standards take effect immediately.

Schneiderman in a statement accused the Trump administration of blocking standards that would collectively eliminate 292 million tons of carbon dioxide, among other greenhouse gas pollutants, while saving 443 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

“This is yet another example of how the Trump administration’s pollute-first energy policy has real and harmful impacts on the public health, environment and pocketbooks of New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

A Department of Energy spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Schneiderman, who took on Trump University in a consumer fraud case that resulted in a court-approved $25 million settlement last week, also has joined lawsuits filed against Trump’s travel ban, among other actions. He’s also expected to file a formal objection to the Department of Justice’s plan to withdraw legal defense of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

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