Federal Judge finds California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard unconstitutional

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On Thursday, a judge in Federal District Court in Fresno, California ruled that the State of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is unconstitutional. Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill agreed with the arguments that the LCFS is in violation of the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dineen and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis released a joint statement shortly after: “The state of California overreached in creating its low carbon fuel standard by making it unconstitutionally punitive for farmers and ethanol producers outside of the state’s border. 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.”

On December 24, 2009 the two groups filed their suit, asserting that the California LCFS violates the Commerce Clause by seeking to regulate farming and ethanol production practices in other states. The Commerce Clause specifically forbids state laws that discriminate against out-of-state goods and that regulate out-of-state conduct.

The Court found that the LCFS discriminates against out-of-state corn-derived ethanol and impermissibly regulated extraterritorial conduct. As a result, the Court issued an injunction. Judge O’Neill also ruled that CARB failed to establish that there are no alternative methods to advance its goals of reducing GHG emissions to combat global warming.

The ruling allows CARB to appeal Judge O’Neill’s decision immediately to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. RFA and Growth Energy will defend the Judge’s decision that the LCFS is unconstitutional in any appeal that may be filed by CARB.

Source: RFA & Growth Energy

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