Earlier this week, the federal district court judge who ruled California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) to be unconstitutional denied a motion to continue implementation of the law.
In response, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) decided to appeal to a new court in the 9th Circuit in hopes of a different outcome.
You may remember that the district court last month ruled that the LCFS “discriminates against out-of-state corn-derived ethanol and impermissibly regulates extraterritorial conduct” and that the CARB failed to establish that there are no alternative methods to advance its goals of reducing GHG emissions to combat global warming.
To make an analogy, the California LCFS is like Iowa deciding to ban California wine because they determined through some model that it has a higher carbon footprint than wines produced in Italy or France or Spain, which are the three countries that rank higher than California in wine production. (The United States ranks fourth in terms of countries, but California produces 90% of U.S. wine)
No doubt California would be up in arms if that were to happen.
The ethanol industry has led the challenge against the California LCFS, but it has an unlikely ally in a diverse multi-state coalition that is primarily concerned with the rule’s impact on oil and gas. The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a coalition of over 170 energy consumer groups and 300,000 individual members across the United States, is also one of the plaintiffs opposing the regulation.
“Not only is an LCFS unconstitutional, but it would also hurt the California economy, farmers, consumers and truckers by raising fuel prices sharply and burdening consumers,” said CEA Executive Vice President Michael Whatley. The CEA’s main concern about the California LCFS is the potential for it to be used to prevent certain sources of petroleum from being converted into fuels such as gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and heating oil and that it could adopted nationwide, resulting in lost jobs and declining household revenue.
“The decision by CARB to appeal the decision by the District Court is disappointing, but unfortunately not surprising. We look forward to a decision by the Ninth Circuit upholding the District Court and confirming the unconstitutional nature of California’s low carbon fuel standard,” said Whatley, urging CARB to “scrap this faulty program” instead of appealing the decision.