LG Sues DOE Over Energy Star Treatment

by | Dec 7, 2009

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LG french doorLG Electronics believes it is being unfairly singled out after the Department of Energy required LG to remove the Energy Star label from some of its refrigerator-freezers starting Jan. 2. As a result, LG filed a complaint against the department in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to news reports.

LG says that DOE has taken “unilateral” measures against the company, “inappropriately forcing” LG to remove the coveted Energy Star label from some of its products, according to a press release.

In the suit, LG declares that the department wants LG to follow a new test procedure that has not been clarified to LG or “properly announced” to the industry, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In November 2008, responding to consumer complaints about some larger LG French Door refrigerators, the Department of Energy gave LG a new set of standards for testing efficiency.

But because the new standards amounted to a “special break” that was not fair to competing appliance makers or to consumers, Department General Counsel Scott Blake Harris told WSJ that the special deal for LG was revoked.

LG wants the courts to stop the DOE from requiring the Energy Star labels to be removed by Jan. 2, as well as to develop a new industrywide approach to testing.

LG also says that the DOE has not given enough fair notice about its policies.

“LG shares the DOE’s objective of improving the rules to provide accurate energy information to consumers, but LG objects to the process which the DOE is following,” LG said, in a statement.

Harris noted that the 2008 agreement between DOE and LG came under the Bush Administration. He said that the Obama Administration takes energy efficiency more seriously.

This is not the first time that corporations have gone to the courts to remediate environmental rules or procedures initiated by the government.

In 2006, Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan asked a federal judge in U.S. District Court in Oakland to dismiss a lawsuit by California that accused them of harming human health and the environment by producing vehicles that contribute to global warming.

And on the flip side, earlier this year, San Francisco’s federal court settled a lawsuit in which environmental groups and four U.S. cities accused two government agencies, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the country’s official export-credit agency, and the Overseas Private Investment Corp., of financing energy projects overseas without considering impacts on global warming.

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