Clean Air Supporters Will Appeal
The U.S. District Court in Fresno, Calif. ruled late last week that California’s LCFS – the state’s landmark low carbon fuel standard – violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by favoring in-state producers.
NPRA – the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association – proclaimed victory.
The California Air Resources Board and the Natural Resources Defense Council vowed to appeal.
The standard “impermissibly treads into the province and powers of our federal government, reaches beyond its boundaries to regulate activity wholly outside of its borders,” Judge Lawrence O’Neill reportedly said in the ruling.
‘They’re Dragging Their Feet’
“We respectfully disagree,” CARB said. “The LCFS is an evenhanded standard that encourages the use of cleaner low carbon fuels by regulating fuel-providers in California.
“It does not discriminate against any fuels on the basis of geography,” the agency said.
“California’s low carbon fuel standard will help reduce harmful air pollution from the fuels used by our cars and trucks, reduce our dependence in petroleum and protect public health,” NRDC senior attorney David Pettit said in a statement. NRDC “will appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal as quickly as possible,” he said.
The California Air Resources Board estimates that the LCFS program will eliminate 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, by which time it is “expected to lead to replacement of the equivalent of up to four billion gallons of gasoline.”
“We are confident that these merits will win the day,” said NRDC’s Pettit.
“California is not discriminating against any fuel, it’s simply measuring the carbon intensity of a fuel based on its lifecycle,” another veteran clean air worker in California told F&F.
‘Would Have Raised Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Costs’
“This lawsuit is about Big Oil and the old, dirty corn ethanol industry’s attempts to keep their stranglehold on our economy and stifle competition from newer, cleaner sources of fuels that can be produced right here in the U.S.
“They’re dragging their feet on being part of the solution for cleaner air and a diversified, low carbon transportation system. This case shows that for every two steps forward, polluting industries will try to take us one step back.”
But according to NPRA, the decision “is a victory for the millions of Californians who travel the state every day in vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel fuel… California’s low-carbon fuel standards would have raised gasoline and diesel fuel costs for all Californians,” NPRA president Charles Drevna said in a release.
“If fully implemented, the standards would have hurt consumers by discriminating against their use of renewable fuels from the Midwest and crude oil from our neighbor and ally Canada,” Drevna said.
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