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California's new standards for light bulbs are challenged in court

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Dec 31, 2019

Lightbulbs

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and American Lighting Association (ALA) allege a California energy conservation standard for light bulbs conflicts with federal law. 

NEMA and the ALA filed a complaint Dec. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against the California Energy Commission (CEC) and others alleging violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). 

According to their complaint, the plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of the CEC's "application" of a 45-lumens-per-watt energy conservation standard that applies to five types of light bulbs, including incandescent reflector lamps and candelabra base incandescent lamps. The standard is effective Jan. 1, and the plaintiffs allege California's standards are different from and in conflict with federal energy conservation standards.

"While EPCA recognizes limited exceptions to federal preemption, California enjoys no exception to preemption with respect to the five federally covered lamps," the suit states.

The plaintiffs allege light bulb manufacturers and resellers would be "irreparably harmed" if the state acts in conflict with federal energy efficiency regulations.

The plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, declaratory judgment and any other relief the court deems proper. They are represented by Michelle Roberts Gonzales of Hogan Lovells US LLP in Los Angeles; Sean Marotta of Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, D.C.; and Nathaniel Nesbitt of Hogan Lovells US LLP in Denver.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California case number 2:19-CV-02504-KJM-DB 

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