The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the Southern District of New York against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates national banks.
In July, the FHFA and OCC issued statements to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the national banks that effectively halted property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs nationwide. The result has been a freeze on nearly all existing and planned PACE programs, leaving millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds in question, and thousands of jobs implementing the projects in limbo, in addition to putting climate-change goals and economic development plans across the country on hold, according to the NRDC.
NRDC is suing the agencies for allegedly halting the programs without justification and for doing so without following the proper protocol as required by law. This includes failing to conduct a review of the environmental impacts and to provide the public an opportunity to comment before taking this action.
In California, Attorney General Jerry Brown, Sonoma County, the City of Palm Desert and the Sierra Club have filed similar federal lawsuits. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Mike Thompson have also introduced federal legislation that would require the federal government to allow states and localities to move forward with PACE programs.Â
The full complaint can be found online here.