ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute to appeal a lower court decision on California Energy Commission regulations.

At issue was whether states have the right to require U.S. manufacturers to meet state-specific rules in addition to federal requirements. In 2002, ARI and three other industry associations sued the California Energy Commission to have its 2002 appliance efficiency regulations, commonly called Title 20, declared invalid and pre-empted by the federal Energy Policy Conservation Act, which regulates product-labeling requirements for appliances.

In 2003, the federal district court in Sacramento, Calif., ruled in favor of U.S. appliance manufacturers. California officials appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In a June 2005 decision, it agreed with them and reversed the lower court's verdict.

ARI and other trade associations petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision, but the case was denied in June.

"With the 9th Circuit's decision not being overturned, manufacturers that do not comply with the CEC's Title 20 requirements cannot sell or install their products in California, even though the products comply with all federal requirements," said Stephen Yurek, ARI's general counsel.

Yurek said the purpose of the federal energy conservation act was to ensure U.S. manufacturers could operate under one federal standard, rather than numerous state and regional laws.

"Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to hear our case allows other states to follow California's lead by setting their own conflicting appliance efficiency regulations, which will eventually hurt U.S. manufacturers and drive jobs overseas," he said.