Groups sue over rollback of lightbulb regulations

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WASHINGTON — A coalition including environmental groups has asked a federal court to consider invalidating the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations on light bulb efficiency.

The administration’s changes would overturn Obama-era requirements for more energy-efficient versions of several common light bulbs, including three-way incandescent, candle-shaped chandelier and recessed reflector bulbs. When the Trump administration overturned the Obama rules in September, they had not yet taken effect.

The groups filed a lawsuit Monday asking a federal appeals court to find that the administration violated a provision of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act that prevents the government from weakening efficiency standards.

When it unveiled the rule change, the Trump administration argued it was not weakening the standards because they had not yet taken effect.

It also said the Obama-era rules would cause light bulb prices to increase “by almost 300 percent.” Environmental groups said the math worked the other way: that less-efficient bulbs would cost consumers more to operate.

A few days after the rollback was announced, President Donald Trump criticized energy-efficient bulbs as “no good.”

“The bulb that we’re being forced to use, number one, to me, most importantly, I always look orange,” he told Republican members of Congress at a gathering in Baltimore.

The groups suing the government include Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Consumer Federation of America, Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, Environment America and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

More than a dozen attorneys general, led by New York state’s Letitia James and California’s Xavier Becerra, filed a parallel lawsuit on Monday.

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