BOSTON - Deciding not to amend energy efficiency standards for certain commercial ventilation systems was a mistake, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Monday as she announced a lawsuit against the federal Department of Energy.
With April 2's victory over the Environmental Protection Agency in the global warming case that went before the U.S. Supreme Court in her pocket, Coakley filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
She says the DOE should have changed the standards for certain commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems because those products, used in offices, schools and hotels, account for a significant share of energy consumption.
"We intend to continue to press the federal government to live up to its statutory responsibilities to address excess emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants," Coakley said. "If the federal government focused on problem solving rather than trying to avoid doing its job, we would be much closer to solving many of our environmental problems."
The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a parallel challenge in the Second Circuit.
In 2006, the DOE proposed strengthening the standards in question, but in March of this year it decided not to. The DOE claimed it did not have the statutory authority to do it, Coakley said. She added that the DOE incorrectly feels the Energy Policy Act of 2005 restricts it from amending the standard until 2010.
The higher standards, based on 2004 government data, would save the equivalent of just under 1 percent of total US electric consumption through 2034, the Boston Globe reported.