AGPA Challenges DOE’s Direct Final Rule On Furnaces

July 2012, Vol. 239 No. 7

The American Public Gas Association (APGA) filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to appeal a Department of Energy (DOE) direct final rule entitled “Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces and Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps.” The rule established a 90% efficiency standard for residential furnaces in the 30-state northern region.

The appeal contends that DOE, in issuing the furnace standard, violated the Energy Policy and Conservation Act requirements by failing to economically justify the new 90% standard, banning a product class, failing to withdraw the direct final rule despite substantive opposition by relevant parties, ignoring fuel switching, and relying on non-transparent documents to support its economic justification. APGA asked the court to vacate the direct final rule and remand the matter to DOE for a notice-and-comment rulemaking.

“We applaud raising appliance and equipment efficiency standards when the new standards are cost-effective and actually reduce both energy use and emissions,” said Bert Kalisch, president and CEO for AGPA. “However, DOE’s direct final rule for furnaces is actually a step backwards.

“This rule is more costly for many American consumers who wish to continue heating their home with natural gas, and there will be a significant amount of fuel switching that will increase both total energy use and emissions. Knowing the complexity of the subject and various interests involved, DOE’s decision to force this far-reaching new standard via a direct final rule was inappropriate and, in our view, unlawful.” A copy of APGA’s brief is at