Good, but not enough.
That sums up the comments the Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals regarding the proposed lawsuit settlement dropping the Energy Department’s regional efficiency standards for indoor residential furnaces.
Because the agreement negotiated by the American Public Gas Association does not cover new rules for central air conditioners and heat pumps due to go into effect in 2015, HARDI is asking the court to allow its lawsuit to continue.
“HARDI does not believe that the APGA/DOE settlement addresses all of our concerns, therefore we are asking the court to allow us to substitute in for APGA and continue our concerns as they relate to abuses of the direct final rule process and central air conditioners,” said Jon Melchi, the association’s government affairs director.
On Jan. 11, the government said it would drop the furnace regulations due to take effect May 1 and begin another round of public comment and rulemaking. If the court accepts the agreement, 80 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency-rated equipment would continue to be legal to sell nationwide indefinitely.
Brian Cobble, president at G.W. Berkheimer and current HARDI president, said the association wants cooling equipment regulations thrown out as well.
“At the distributor town hall meeting held at the 2012 HARDI annual conference, we were unanimously directed by our distributor members to do everything reasonably possible to fight the implementation of regional standards,” Cobble said. “Since the proposed APGA/DOE settlement only addresses the furnace standard, HARDI felt compelled to file the motion with the court in order to address shortcomings in the cooling standard and missteps in the rulemaking process.”
Melchi said the association is confident in its position.
“We believe that the facts are on our side and that by allowing the case to continue the court would be allowing the many businesses that HARDI represents, the fair and open process they were denied by the DOE’s abuse of the direct final rule process,” he said.