Energy Efficiency Standards
On August 8, 2013, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of 10 states and the City of New York, reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy that commits the Department to a timetable for updating overdue energy efficiency standards for four common commercial appliances. The agreement was reached after DOE missed legal deadlines set by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act for revising efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers, metal halide lamps, electric motors and commercial refrigeration equipment. Strengthening the standards will result in substantial cuts in air, water and climate change pollution and save businesses and consumers across the country an estimated $156 million per month, and $3.8 billion per year by 2035. DOE’s letter regarding that agreement is provided below:
ExxonMobil Greenpoint Settlement
Information on the proposed Consent Decree governing the cleanup of the ExxonMobil Greenpoint oil spill:
- Consent Decree Presentation
- Proposed Consent Decree
- Proposed Corrective Action Plan
- Notice of Lodging of Consent Decree
- Stipulation and Order of Dismissal
- Site Map
There will be a 30-day public comment period before the State asks the Federal Judge to approve the Consent Decree. The comment period ends on December 23, 2010.
Comments should be addressed to:
Attorney General of the State of New York
Environmental Protection Bureau
New York State Department of Law
New York, New York 10271
or via e-mail at : Exxon.email@example.com
To request more information, call the Attorney General's Environmental Protection Bureau at
Availability of Proposed Consent Decree: Indeck Corinth, L.P. (Indeck)
In 2008, after a multi-year rulemaking process, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) promulgated regulations implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program pursuant to which New York and nine other northeast states intend to reduce the total amount of allowable state- and region-wide carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
On January 29, 2009, Indeck Corinth, L.P. (Indeck), which operates a natural gas power plant in Corinth, New York, filed a lawsuit against Governor Paterson, DEC, NYSERDA, and the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) challenging the RGGI regulations. The company challenged the RGGI regulations on a number of grounds, alleging that DEC’s and NYSERDA’s promulgation of the regulations exceeded their authority, and was unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious, and not supported by a proper record. The government defendants dispute each of Indeck’s claims.
On December 23, 2009, a proposed Consent Decree in this case was lodged with the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Albany. Under the settlement:
- Indeck will withdraw the lawsuit. The settlement also resolves the claims of Selkirk Cogeneration Partners (Selkirk) and Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogeneration Partners (BNYCP), that like Indeck, have long-term power purchase agreements with Consolidated Edison (Con Edison);
- Con Edison will pay Indeck and the other power producers in the lawsuit for the amount of pollution allowances that they do not receive directly from DEC from a pool of allowances that were set aside under the regulations for qualifying power generators bound by long-term contracts; and
- NYSERDA will provide an additional portion of the RGGI proceeds for energy efficiency and other related programs for Con Edison’s customers.
The Consent Decree, including its specific terms, and the notice of its lodging with the court are provided below. The Consent Decree has been approved by all parties to the litigation and has been furnished to the Court to allow for public comment.
The public comment period on the proposed Consent Decree ends on January 29, 2010.
Availability of Proposed Consent Decree: Western New York Nuclear Service Center (“West Valley” Site)
On December 11, 2006, the State of New York, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) (collectively “the State”) sued the United States and the federal Department of Energy (DOE), seeking cost recovery damages, and declaratory relief regarding the cleanup of the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, located in West Valley, Cattaraugus County, New York.
On October 27, 2009, a proposed Consent Decree in this case was lodged with the United State District Court for Western New York. The Consent Decree has been approved by all parties to the litigation and been furnished to the Court to allow a 30-day public comment period before the State takes any further action regarding the Consent Decree. The Consent Decree does not select or advocate the selection of any particular cleanup program for the Site, but pertains only to the apportionment between the parties of costs arising from or in connection with certain cleanup actions that may be conducted by the parties. The comment period on the Consent Decree ends on December 7, 2009.
Victory in Challenge of Weak Bush-Era Air Pollution Standards – On February 24, 2009, Attorney General Cuomo leading a coalition of 19 states and cities won a major victory in a challenge of lax Bush EPA standards for fine soot pollution (also known as fine particulate matter or “PM 2.5”). The federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed with Cuomo and his coalition that the Bush EPA had acted illegally in issuing air pollution standards for fine soot that wholly failed to protect public health, particularly for children, elderly people and other vulnerable populations. The Court remanded the standards to the new Obama EPA to issue new, more protective air standards.
Lawsuit Against the NY Organic Fertilizer Company to End Persistent, Noxious Odors in Hunts Point, Bronx – On February 5, 2009, Attorney General Cuomo sued the New York Organic Fertilizer Company (“NYOFCo”) and its parent company, Synagro Technologies, Inc., to force their South Bronx facility to end persistent noxious odors. For years, these foul odors have plagued the surrounding Hunts Point community, disrupting the daily lives of residents, workers, and schools, and posing serious threats to health and safety. The lawsuit, which joins the efforts of the community to protect its right to clean and healthy air, charges that odors emanating from the NYOFCo facility have created a public nuisance under New York State law.
Decision Supporting the Protection New York’s Great Lakes from Invasive Species – On July 23, 2008, New York and five other Great Lake states and several environmental groups won a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a lower court’s ruling that EPA must issue permits under the Clean Water Act to control the introduction of harmful invasive species through the discharge of ballast water by ocean-going freight ships.
Lawsuit Against the Department of Commerce to Overturn Illegal Marine Fishing Regulations – On June 23, 2008, Attorney General Cuomo filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking to invalidate the federal limits on recreational catches of summer flounder. The limits harm New York’s anglers and recreational fishing industry, without benefiting the long-term health of these popular sportfish.
Lawsuit Against the Bush EPA in Battle For States’ Right to Fight Global Warming – On January 2, 2008, a 15-state coalition, led by Attorney General Cuomo, joined a suit brought by California against the Bush-era EPA to uphold the right of states to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from automobiles. The coalition’s lawsuit will be heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Lawsuit Against the Bush-Era EPA for Denying the Public Access to Information on Toxic Chemicals in their Neighborhoods – On November 28, 2007, New York and eleven other states sued the Bush EPA over its changes to Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program regulations. The new regulations roll back chemical reporting requirements, and will allow thousands of companies to avoid disclosing information to the public about the toxic chemicals they use, store, and release into the environment.
Innovative initiative to require energy companies to disclose climate change risks – In the fall of 2007, Attorney General Cuomo subpoenaed five large energy companies – AES Corp, Dominion Resources, Xcel Energy, Dynergy Inc, and Peabody Energy – to investigate whether their investors were informed about the potential financial risks posed by coal burning power plants which release global warming pollution.
In August 2008, Attorney General Cuomo announced an agreement with one of the subpoenaed companies – Xcel Energy – requiring the company to disclose the financial risks that climate change poses to its investors. Xcel Energy is among the top ten largest emitters of global warming pollution by utilities in the United States, and is building a new 750 megawatt, coal-fired power plant in Pueblo, Colorado. The agreement includes first-ever binding and enforceable provisions that require Xcel to provide detailed disclosure of climate change and associated risks in its “Form 10-K” filings
On October 23, 2008, former Vice President Al Gore joined Attorney General Cuomo in announcing a binding and enforceable agreement with a major power company - Dynegy - to disclose the financial risks that climate change poses to its investors. Dynegy is currently among the top twenty utility emitters of global warming pollution in the United States. In addition, the company is now building 2 new coal-burning power plants and is planning 4 more. Combined, these plants, if all built, could result in the emission of over 42 million tons of global warming pollution annually. This landmark agreement with Dynegy sets a new industry standard for the disclosure of financial risks associated with climate change.