Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued the U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday for allegedly delaying efficiency standards for five consumer products, adding to the string of legal actions his office has taken against the Trump administration.
Becerra filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with 10 other state attorneys general, New York City and two environmental groups.
The plaintiffs allege the Energy Department failed to take the final administrative steps to activate new energy-saving rules—developed in the Obama administration—for portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers and commercial packaged boilers.
Energy Department officials approved the standards in December. But regulators have yet to publish them in the Federal Register, an action necessary to make the rules enforceable under law.
“The Department of Energy is blocking commonsense energy efficiency standards,” Becerra said in a prepared statement. “This is absurd. The Trump administration should stop stalling and start following the law.”
A message seeking comment from the Energy Department was not immediately returned.
The efficiency standards lawsuit is the latest filed by Becerra and other Democratic attorneys general over Trump administration attempts to delay or derail environmental ruling. In April, a coalition of state prosecutors sued the federal government over stalled ceiling fan efficiency standards. The Energy Department in May reversed course and announced the fan rules would go into effect in September.
Becerra has vowed to serve as a check against the Trump administration. This month he threatened to take legal action if President Donald Trump attempts to repeal the designations of six national monuments in California. Last month, he sued to block the federal government from restarting a federal coal leasing program on public lands. And in March, Becerra moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit in an attempt to block Trump from rolling back vehicle pollution standards.
Among Becerra’s recent executive hires was David Zonana, a 14-year veteran of the state Department of Justice who was named special assistant attorney general for environmental law.
Becerra’s office has also filed numerous amicus briefs challenging Trump’s travel ban and policies against sanctuary cities, backing civil rights litigation brought by transgender students and supporting abortion rights. Gov. Jerry Brown’s May spending plan included 31 new positions for the state Department of Justice, including 19 attorneys Becerra sought to continue his work against Trump policies.