CARB Board Meeting Next Week Won’t Include LCFS Reauthorization

Source: By Kevin Adler, OPIS • Posted: Monday, July 20, 2015

When the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the agenda for its July 23-24 meeting, one expected item was absent from the schedule: a final vote by CARB’s board of directors to reauthorize the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Instead, the earliest the vote will be taken is September, because the board does not meet in August.

“The LCFS was never actually on the formal July agenda; that was simply the next available opportunity,” CARB spokesperson David Clegern told OPIS in an e-mail.
“Staff is just taking a few extra weeks (there is no August meeting scheduled) to respond to comments and to make sure all procedural matters have been wrapped up.”

In workshop presentations, CARB staff had referenced the July 23-24 meeting as the target for final reauthorization. But as recently as mid-June, the staff published a detailed list of proposed changes to the LCFS; these were its second set of proposed changes released in the summer, and comments were accepted through July 8. Those two sets of changes generated more than 70 comments combined.

In addition, in the same week that CARB released its second set of proposed LCFS changes, it also published its proposed modifications of both the CA-GREET model for calculating carbon intensity (CI) of biofuels pathways and its OPGEE model for CI of crude oil used for refining transportation fuels.

As word spread through the industry this week that the LCFS vote would not take place next week, industry participants discussed the potential impact, given their needs to have sufficient time to implement the array of changes that the law will introduce.

“The delay in CARB readopting the Low Carbon Fuel Standard is frustrating and represents yet another blow to producers and blenders of clean fuel,” said Lisa Mortenson, CEO of Community Fuels, a California-based biodiesel producer.

“Biofuel producers, especially biodiesel producers, have been forced into a perpetual holding pattern due to regulatory delays at the federal and state level. … The Low Carbon Fuel Standard has been on hold awaiting readoption. I am concerned that policy makers have become desensitized to the impact these delays and regulatory uncertainties have on businesses and on hard-working people,” she said. “We need stronger resolve from our elected officials to move key regulations forward to ensure a cleaner future. Our industry is resilient … but we cannot wait forever.”

“The Low Carbon Fuels Coalition (LCFC) has been advised informally that the Air Resources Board will not be voting on the LCFS at the July meeting and this is reflected in the agenda for the meeting. We understand that the Board, staff and legal counsel at ARB are working hard to meticulously comply with procedural requirements in the readoption. The LCFC appreciates ARB’s work to receive industry input throughout the process to improve the program, and we are confident that the program will be readopted in September in a manner that is resilient to legal challenge and sends a strong market signal,” said Graham Noyes, acting director of LCFC, in an e-mail to OPIS.