Truckers, fuel manufacturers sue to stop Oregon’s clean fuels law

Source: By Wendy Culverwell, Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal • Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A coalition of fuel manufacturers and truck drivers is suing to stop Oregon’s Clean Fuels law, which aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent in 10 years. A suit filed Monday calls the law “unconstitutional”.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Trucking Association Inc. and Consumer Trade Association sued to stop the law Monday in U.S. District Court for Oregon.

The suit, drafted by law firm Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, names individual members of the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission as well as senior staff members, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and the governor as defendants.

Brown signed the bill after it narrowly passed in the Oregon House on a 31 to 29 vote following a contentious five-hour debate in which Republican leaders unsuccessfully attempted to block it on the grounds it will raise fuel prices.

According to the suit, the Clean Fuels program, also known as the Low Carbon Standard, is unconstitutional and is preempted by the federal Clean Air act and other statutes.

The suit claims it discriminates against transportation fuels imported into Oregon “with the intended purpose and effect of promoting the development of in-state fuel production.”

Indeed, the law was promoted as a potential boost to Oregon’s blooming biofuels industry, which would benefit from demand for its product to blend into traditional transportation fuels.

The trucking association in particular took exception to the attempt to boost the profile of a domestic industry.

“The Oregon program is set up to give a big boost to Oregon’s small biofuel industry, without reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, and at the expense of higher fuel costs for everyone,” said Glen Kedzie, vice president for energy and environmental affairs for ATAsaid in a news release.

“Unfortunately for Oregon, the Constitution doesn’t allow states to set up these kinds of trade barriers in order to promote in-state businesses, nor does it allow Oregon to regulate how fuel is produced in other states.”