For some insane reason, California has become the trendsetter for the nation, especially when it comes to environmental regulations. The ethanol industry is trying to stop that from happening in the case of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) which could become the model for other states and the nation, despite the fact that it is based on flawed science and questionable constitutionality.
It was almost three years ago that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order setting Low Carbon Fuel Standard, with a bright green and yellow corn themed flex fuel vehicle figuring prominently in the background. Ironically, the LCFS developed by the California Air Resources Board could ultimately prohibit the use of corn ethanol to fuel FFVs in the state.
According to a complaint filed on Christmas Eve in the Federal District Court of Fresno by the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, the measure violates both the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“The LCFS erects new regulatory obstacles to ethanol, frustrates the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, and threatens the nationwide market for domestic ethanol,” says a joint statement issued by the two organizations. “Additionally, by closing California’s borders to corn ethanol from other states, the LCFS will change how corn is farmed and ethanol is produced all over the country. The Commerce Clause specifically forbids state laws that discriminate against out-of-state goods and that regulate out-of-state conduct. The LCFS imposes excessive burdens on the entire domestic ethanol industry while providing no benefit to Californians. In fact, in disadvantaging low-carbon, domestic ethanol, the LCFS denies the people of California a genuine opportunity to clean their air, create jobs, and strengthen their economic and national security.”
Even if this standard is not adopted by other states or nationwide, it will still affect the rest of the country by the impact it could have on corn farmers. Hopefully the constitution will prevail.