Federal Judge In California Rules Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Unconstitutional

Federal Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill has ruled that California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program is unconstitutional, stating that the LCFS is in violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, reports Growth Energy, an organization of ethanol producers.

Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) filed a lawsuit in December 2009, arguing that the California LCFS, which calls for a reduction of at least 10% in the carbon intensity of the state's transportation fuels by 2020, violates the Commerce Clause by seeking to regulate farming and ethanol production practices in other states. According to the groups, the clause specifically forbids state laws that discriminate against out-of-state goods and that regulate out-of-state conduct.

In 2010, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), along with other groups, also filed a similar complaint against the LCFS.

In a joint statement following the ruling, RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said, “With this ruling, it is our hope that the California regulators will come back to the table to work on a thoughtful, fair and ultimately achievable strategy for improving our environment by incenting the growth and evolution of American renewable fuels.”

The ruling allows the California Air Resources Board, the organization in charge of the LCFS, to appeal Judge O'Neill's decision immediately to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

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