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Sean D. Reyes
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AGO Wins Appeal Against Appliance Regulations

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – A federal appeals court gave a legal victory to Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and the State of Utah by ruling against the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2022 repeal (“The Repeal Rule”) of two 2020 regulations from the previous administration that had increased consumer freedom and choice with home appliances. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down the opinion in Louisiana v. DOE

“While federal overreach continues to creep into every aspect of our daily lives—including our home appliances—the rule of law and consumer choice prevailed in this battle,” said General Reyes. “Consumers do not want to spend their entire day washing dishes and clothes. As the court noted, the Department of Energy failed to recognize the reality that Americans use more energy and more water with long-cycle machines because these appliances simply do not get the job done.”

In their opening brief, the State Petitioners argued that the Repeal Rule “violates the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), and is arbitrary and capricious,” and that the Fifth Circuit “should vacate the Repeal Court.” 

Judge Andrew S. Oldham, writing for the Fifth Circuit’s panel, stated, “It is unclear that DOE has any statutory authority to regulate water use in dishwashers and clothes washers. But even assuming the Department has that authority, the Repeal Rule is arbitrary and capricious for two principal reasons. (1) It failed to adequately consider appliance performance, substitution effects, and the ample record of evidence that DOE’s conservation standards are causing Americans to use more energy and water rather than less. (2) It rested instead on DOE’s view that the 2020 Rules were legally ‘invalid’ – but even if true, that does not excuse DOE from considering other remedies short of repealing the 2020 Rules in toto.” 

Joining Utah and Louisiana on this lawsuit were the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Arizona previously co-led the case but withdrew from the challenge due to a change in administrations. 

Read the Fifth Circuit opinion here.