Positive Court Action on the Spire Inc., APGA and AHRI Legal Challenge to the DOE Commercial Package Boiler Final Minimum Efficiency Rule: Remands it Back to DOE.
As previously reported in BECS Committee End Use Codes and Standards Updates that in response to the DOE issuance of its final rule on commercial packaged boiler minimum efficiency requirements, Spire Inc., the American Public Gas Association (APGA) and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) filed petitions challenging the final rules minimum efficiency levels. AGA intervened in support of Petitioners. The major concern with the DOE final rule argued by Spire Inc., APGA and AHRI was that the DOE did not provide clear and convincing economic justification for the more stringent standards for commercial package boilers in the final rule. Specifically, the court found that DOE failed to meet the higher evidentiary standard required by Congress through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) to justify more stringent appliance efficiency requirements and found DOE’s “random assignment” methodology to determine consumer benefits “problematic”. Attached are the Courts January 18, 2022, Judgement, Opinion and Order on this case. While the court did not “vacate” the final rule (entirely remove it) that would have been the best outcome, it was remanded back to the DOE to address several important issues raised by the petitioners Spire, Inc., APGA and AHRI to address those concerns. It should be noted that this action will require DOE to address several procedural and analytical concerns that the natural gas industry and other stakeholders have had with the DOE rulemaking process including the lack of transparency in developing minimum efficiency requirements that are covered products under DOE appliance regulations. This court imposed requirement on DOE for this specific rule should also be beneficial for requiring the DOE to do the same for other future appliance and equipment rulemakings that DOE is required to undertake under federal legislation. We will continue providing updates on this issue as DOE responses to the court ordered requirements.
Summary of 2022 DOE Energy Efficiency Activities .
For your ready reference, attached is a summary of 2022 DOE Energy Efficiency Activities provided by the law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP that identifies the 2022 DOE Energy Efficiency Activities including efficiency test procedure development and modifications for the various appliances as well as minimum efficiency proposals and request for information on all residential and commercial appliances, equipment and components (gas, electric and oil) that are covered products under federal legislation.