Friday, February 11, 2005

Ninth Circuit Rules that California's New Energy-Efficiency Regulations are Not Preempted by Federal Law

The San Francisco Chronicle reported late last week on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's recent ruling which up-holds California's requirement that manufacturers give state energy regulators detailed information about the efficiency of their air conditioners, refrigerators and other appliances.

The case presented the question of whether federal law preempts California’s appliance regulations requiring appliance manufacturers to submit data about their appliances to California’s Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, mark their appliances with basic information such as brand name and energy performance, and be subjected to related compliance and enforcement rules. Four major appliance trade associations challenged the new rules, and the District Judge for the Eastern District of California agreed with the trade associations, finding that the new rules were preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 and subsequent amendments.

The Ninth Circuit, in an opinion issued late last week, reversed the District Court ruling, concluding that EPCA did not preempt the submission, marking, or enforcement provisions of California's new regulations.

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