Cause of Action Challenges Department of Energy In Latest Filing on Behalf of HARDI

Unprecedented Move by Energy Department Violates Both Congressional Intent and Agency Practices

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action filed a joint brief on May 29 in a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) following the DOE’s rogue move to impose unreasonable energy efficiency standards on distributors, installers, and users of residential heating and cooling products in the United States. The brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on behalf of the Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), is the next step in a major pushback to rein in the agency.

Violating both congressional intent and long-standing agency practice, the DOE exceeded its statutory authority when it circumvented the often-used public comment period and acted on its own to issue a direct final rule that imposes new energy efficiency standards.

“This is the first time a direct final rule has been challenged in court, even though agencies have issued hundreds, if not thousands, of direct final rules over the past twenty-plus years,” said Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action. “This is also the first time of note that an agency has so blatantly ignored both procedure and the public, creating a huge accountability problem that has led us to join in this lawsuit.”

After receiving more than thirty adverse public comments calling upon the agency to withdraw the direct final rule, the DOE chose to ignore industry experts and professionals who are impacted by these new standards and opted instead to move forward with imposing new burdensome regulations on manufacturers, contractors and distributors of furnaces and air conditioning units.  Agency practice typically dictates that if even one adverse public comment is received, the agency will withdraw the direct final rule.

“By refusing to withdraw a highly controversial, major direct final rule establishing energy-conservation standards, DOE radically broke with established federal agency practice and the Administrative Procedure Act’s general requirement for notice-and-comment rulemaking for regulations,” continued Epstein. “Apparently thirty objections were not enough to hold this rogue agency accountable, so we have turned to the court to defend the interest of the thousands affected by this type of arbitrary decision-making and regulatory overreach.”

The Department of Energy has thirty days to file a response brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to address the concerns presented by HARDI and ACCA.

To see the brief filed by Cause of Action, click here.

For more information or to speak with Jon Melchi, Director of Government Affairs of HARDI, or Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action, contact Mary Beth Hutchins, 202-587-5880,

About HARDI:

Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) represents more than 460 wholesale companies and 300 manufacturing associates as well as nearly 125 manufacturer representatives. HARDI members represent an estimated 85 percent of the dollar value of the HVACR products sold through distribution.

About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. For more information, visit