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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Joins Coalition Opposing Rollback of Cost-Saving Energy Standards for Lightbulbs

May 9, 2019

Contact: Laura Murphy, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3171


Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan joined a coalition of 15 states, Washington DC, and New York City to oppose the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposal to overturn energy efficiency requirements for multiple types of household lightbulbs.  The efficiency requirements were adopted in 2017 and would save consumers an estimated $12 billion in electricity costs on an annual basis by 2025, and an estimated 34 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis by 2025.

“Energy efficiency standards are good for consumers and good for the environment,” said Attorney General Donovan.  “This rollback will increase greenhouse gas emissions and will increase Vermonters’ electric bills.  I’m proud that Vermont is a national leader on energy efficiency standards, and we will continue to oppose this needless rollback.”

DOE’s new proposal would significantly limit the universe of lightbulbs subject to conservation standards by changing the definitions of “general service lamp” and “general service incandescent lamp” to exclude nearly half the lightbulbs in the country.  The coalition of attorneys general urges the DOE to maintain the stricter definitions adopted in 2017, which included common lightbulbs such as candelabra, reflector, and globe lamps.  Vermont lawmakers led the nation by being the first to adopt the federal lightbulb standards as Vermont state standards in 2017.

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) supported Attorney General Donovan’s action on this issue.  “By rolling back this standard, the Trump administration is attempting to give lightbulb producers the go-ahead to continue selling outdated, energy intensive, inefficient products to unsuspecting American consumers,” said Ben Edgerly Walsh, the Climate and Energy Program Director for VPIRG.  “Vermont is one of three states that have adopted these standards ourselves, but all American consumers deserve these same protections, not just Vermonters and citizens of a few other ‘blue’ states.”

“The Appliance Standards Awareness Project works around the nation to advance energy efficiency, and states like Vermont lead the way to energy savings for all Americans,” said Chris Granda of ASAP.  “We’re proud to stand with Attorney General Donovan as he demonstrates Vermont’s consistent leadership, joining with sixteen other government entities across the nation to tell the Department of Energy not to mess with the most important energy efficiency standards ever issued.”

The May 3, 2019 comment letter explains that DOE’s new proposal would violate the Energy Policy and Conservation Act’s (EPCA’s) “anti-backsliding” requirement.  The comments also explain that the proposal is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act because the DOE has not offered a reasoned basis for its change of position from the 2017 rules, which were consistent with EPCA.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

For more information on the Attorney General’s environmental work and to keep up-to-date on the latest activities of the Office of the Attorney General, please visit the Office’s website – www.ago.vermont.gov – and find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Last modified: May 9, 2019