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EXC-12-0001, EXC-12-0002, EXC-12-0003 - In the Matter of Philips Lighting Company, GE Lighting, and OSRAM SYLVANIA, Inc.

On April 16, 2012, OHA issued a decision granting Applications for Exception filed respectively by Philips Lighting Company (Philips), GE Lighting (GE) and OSRAM SYLVANIA, Inc. (OSI) (collectively, “the Applicants”), for relief from the provisions of 10 C.F.R. Part 430, Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for General Service Fluorescent Lamps and Incandescent Reflector Lamps (Lighting Efficiency Standards). In their exception requests, the Applicants asserted that they will suffer a serious hardship, gross inequity and an unfair distribution of burdens if required to adhere to the new Lighting Efficiency Standards, effective July 14, 2012 (2009 Final Rule), with respect to 700 series T8 General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFLs) manufactured by the firms.  More specifically, the Applicants claimed that they do not have access to sufficient amounts of reasonably priced quantities of heavy rare earth oxides required to manufacture more highly efficient GSFLs.  In granting exception relief, OHA found that the agency’s projections in the 2009 Final Rule, regarding the availability of sufficient rare earth oxides to meet the revised GSFL standards, have been overtaken by unforeseen circumstances and are no longer valid.  OHA determined that the Applicants had presented compelling evidence that, at the present time, they do not have stable access to sufficient quantities of the necessary rare earth elements to produce T-8 GSFLs at the energy efficiency levels established by the 2009 Final Rule, as a result of policies adopted by the Chinese government which have significantly limited the exportation of these materials.  Accordingly, OHA granted exception relief to the Applicants authorizing them to continue to manufacture 700 series T-8 GSFLs subject to the currently applicable efficiency standards for a period of two years, until July 14, 2014.  OHA Case Nos. EXC-12-0001, EXC-12-0002, EXC-12-0003