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DOE - EISA Lighting Update Gets a Court Date

image credit: Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

The next chapter in the Department of Energy (DOE) regulations on general service lamps received a court date, establishing the due date for briefs as March 16, 2020.  The petitions for review, one filed by a group of states and the other by a group of environmental justice organizations, to restore the original definitions of specialty lighting were consolidated under Docket 19-3658. The original filing being petitioned is available here at the Federal Register. Save yourself the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) legal record search and you can view a summary of the Docket proceedings as of 12/30/2019.

In my opinion, it is HIGHLY unlikely that this petition will be granted. The originally filed expanded definition rulings (82 FR 7276 and 82 FR 7322) had effective dates of 1/1/2020, so the DOE's action merely canceled, or more technically "withdrew", a pending action rather than backsliding from regulations already in effect. While the DOE's second recent filing regarding the GSIL standards are on shakier legal ground, this particular lawsuit seems an awful lot like a waste of time. Most cases like these are determined based on the briefs filed and are never argued verbally in court, but we still won't likely see a verdict until late Q3 2020.

If you are interested in following this case independently, I'd suggest setting up your own account for PACER and searching for docket 19-3658 on the Second Circuit website shortly after 3/16/2020. The due date may get pushed back if the briefing date is delayed, but it certainly won't move up, so that is why I recommend not checking in again until at least the briefing date. While there is technically a fee of $0.10 per page of search results, the fees are waived if you retrieve less than $15 worth of documents, and beginning in 2020, if quarterly usage is $30 or less, the bill will be waived.

There is always a chance that the due date will get moved back, but my guess is that this case will get wrapped up rather quickly and the filing parties will instead direct their attention to the larger issue of the 45 lpw backstop requirement of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) legislation: whether or not the backstop was triggered and whether or not the DOE is correct that they can't ever regulate incandescent lighting out of existence by implementing a general service lamp standard which incandescent technology can't meet. 

Matt Bowgren's picture
Thank Matt for the Post!
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