California Files Appeal in Ethanol Ruling

Source: Cindy Zimmerman • Domestic Fuel  • Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012

As expected, the California Air Resources Board today filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to challenge last week’s ruling that the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) responded to the expected action by noting that the judge who issued the ruling has made a good decision in determining that the LCFS discriminates against Midwestern ethanol producers. “Judge O’Neill agreed, basing his ruling on strong evidence and sound constitutional law,” said the RFA statement. “In the Court of Appeals, RFA will vigorously defend the result obtained at the District Court level.”

The judge’s ruling found that the LCFS discriminates against out-of-state corn-derived ethanol and impermissibly regulates extraterritorial conduct and the court therefore issued an injunction against the enforcement of the LCFS in California.

RFA’s Matt Hartwig provides a good overview of the ruling and its implications on the E-xchange Blog. “The RFA is not opposed to carbon-reducing programs but believes any such initiative should be undertaken at the national level, thus avoiding a state-by-state patchwork of unworkable and possibly unconstitutional policies,” notes Hartwig. “If based on the best available science and grounded in real world perception, a national low carbon fuel strategy that complements the Renewable Fuel Standard would be something the RFA and its members would support.”