By Mark Weiss
In a development that was not unexpected, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied a motion by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club, seeking to compel DOE to issue manufactured housing energy standards under section 413 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).
In its Motion to Dismiss, DOE maintained that Sierra Club lacked either organizational or associational standing to sue on behalf of members who allegedly have been “injured” as a result of delays in the establishment of DOE energy conservation standards for manufactured homes. The court’s denial of that Motion – under legal standards that tend to favor plaintiffs seeking to sue – is not a ruling on the substantive merits of the case, but rather, simply means that the case can go forward with Sierra Club acting as a representative for its members.
MHARR will carefully monitor this litigation as it progresses, insofar as the DOE “negotiated rulemaking” process, which led to both DOE’s now withdrawn 2016 proposed rule and, more importantly, currently pending proposals published by DOE in a 2018 Notice of Data Availability (NODA), was inherently and fundamentally tainted and illegitimate, as MHARR has extensively detailed in comments filed with DOE. As a result, that “negotiated rulemaking” process does not provide a valid, lawful or permissible basis for any rulemaking, and DOE, as MHARR has consistentlymaintained, must go back to the drawing board and initiate a new, legitimate and untainted rulemaking process to address any such manufactured housing standards.