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NRDC v. Abraham

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

January 29, 2003, Argued ; January 13, 2004, Decided

Docket Nos. 01-4102, 01-4103, 02-4160, 02-4189, 02-6139

Opinion

 [*184]  OAKES, Senior Circuit Judge:

We are called upon in this case to determine when section 325 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act ("EPCA"), as amended by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act ("NAECA"), took effect so as to prevent the Department of Energy from amending downward [**5]  efficiency standards for certain home appliances.

The Natural Resources Defense Council ("NRDC"), the Public UtilityLaw Project ("PULP"), and the Consumer Federation of America ("CFA"), joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as intervenors Texas Ratepayers' Organization to Save Energy, the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (hereinafter collectively "petitioners"), petition this court for relief. They challenge a series of actions taken by the Department of Energy ("DOE") following its promulgation and publication in January 2001 of efficiency standards for certain air conditioning units required under the EPCA. They do so simultaneously with their appeal, in the alternative, of the dismissal based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Laura Taylor Swain, Judge, of their suit challenging a portion of these same actions in that court.

In their consolidated petitions for relief, petitioners argue that DOE's [**6]  acts of delaying, withdrawing and replacing the standards promulgated in January 2001 were improper and done in violation of section 325(o)(1) of the EPCA, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 6295(o)(1) (2003), as well as the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") and the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"). They seek a judgment from this court accordingly. They also argue that the replacement standards are not supported by substantial evidence in the record and do not conform to mandates Congress set forth elsewhere in section 325 of the EPCA. In the alternative, they argue that the district court erroneously determined that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the propriety of DOE's acts of twice delaying the effective date of the original standards, and that we should remand so that it may do so. 2 

 [**7]  As a threshold matter, we conclude that the district court was correct in determining that subject matter jurisdiction over petitioners' challenge to DOE's two amendments of the original standards' effective date properly resides with this court. Consequently, we review all of DOE's actions here. Because we agree that DOE acted contrary to the dictates of the EPCA and, alternately, the APA, we grant petitioners' request for relief.

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355 F.3d 179 *; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 414 **; 57 ERC (BNA) 1833

Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Utility Law Project, State of Connecticut, State of Vermont, State of Maine, State of New Jersey, State of Nevada, State of California, Consumer Federation of America & State of New York, Petitioners, v. Spencer Abraham, as Secretary of the United States Department of Energy & United States Department of Energy, Respondents, and Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute, State of New Hampshire, Texas Ratepayers' Organization to Save Energy, Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, & State of Rhode Island, Intervenors.

Prior History:  [**1]  Consolidated petitions for relief seeking review of a series of final rules promulgated by the Department of Energy, along with an appeal from the dismissal by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Laura Taylor Swain, Judge, of a suit seeking review of a portion of these same rules. Petitioners argue that the Department's final rules delaying, withdrawing and replacing energy efficiency standards it had prescribed for a particular class of home appliances were prescribed in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act; the Administrative Procedure Act; and the National Environmental Policy Act. Petitioners argue in the alternative that the district court erroneously determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction enabling it to review, for consistency with the Administrative Procedure Act, the final rules twice delaying the standards' effective date.

New York v. Abraham, 199 F. Supp. 2d 145, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7318 (S.D.N.Y., 2002)

Disposition: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS

final rule, effective date, energy, rulemaking, promulgated, appliance, notice, district court, prescribed, replacement, deference, air conditioner, amend, court of appeals, manufacturers, reconsideration, purposes, reconsider, provisions, delays, deadline, regulations, energy conservation, judicial review, compliance, heat, good cause, notice-and-comment, proceedings, quotation

Business & Corporate Compliance, Energy Conservation, Energy Policy & Conservation Act, Appliance Standards, Energy & Utilities Law, Pipelines & Transportation, Energy Policy & Conservation Act, General Overview, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Jurisdiction & Venue, Agency Rulemaking, Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Jurisdiction, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Statutory Sources, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations, Ripeness, Standards of Review, Deference to Agency Statutory Interpretation, Separation of Powers, Legislative Controls, Implicit Delegation of Authority, Scope of Delegated Authority, Federal Government, US Congress, Rule Application & Interpretation, Local Governments, Administrative Boards, Environmental Law, Air Quality, Enforcement, Administrative Proceedings, Informal Rulemaking