The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute says it is calling on the Department of Energy (DOE) to follow its own procedures when promulgating rules. The institute is seeking suspension of a current rulemaking for revising commercial boiler efficiency standards until its established process is followed. 

In an April 1 letter to the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, AHRI Chief Technical Advisor Frank Stanonik said the DOE has continued a pattern of "violating its own procedures" contained in the Process Rule (10 CFR 430) that is supposed to govern how the department goes about setting and amending regulations. 

In the letter, Stanonik noted that DOE is in the process of accepting comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for Commercial Boilers while it is also accepting comments on its NOPR for the test procedures for that equipment. AHRI said the Process Rule specifically states that "Final modified test procedures will be issued prior to the NOPR on proposed standards."

Stanonik stated that "proceeding with the standard rulemaking prior to finalization of the test procedure creates confusion for stakeholders and an inability to effectively comment on the standard rulemaking."  

He went on to ask, "If stakeholders, and DOE, do not know the exact procedure for testing equipment to determine compliance with the standard, how can they adequately comment on and evaluate the impact of the efficiency standard?"

Here he noted that the Process Rule was put in place precisely to avoid such confusion.   

Calling the decision to proceed with the two rulemakings on a parallel track "arbitrary and capricious," AHRI called upon DOE to suspend the commercial boiler rulemaking "until the final rule on the revised test procedures for commercial boilers is finalized." 

Stanonik pointed out that finishing the test procedure rulemaking should not prevent DOE from meeting its March 24, 2018, target date for completing the boiler rule.