California has long been known for its vehicle emissions requirements, thanks to The Price is Right. (Every car we ever watched Bob Barker give away had standard California emissions.) But the strict standards of yesteryear are no longer enough for the Golden State. In 2006, California approved the Low Carbon Fuel Standard after the adoption of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill enjoined implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, finding that it was unconstitutional because it discriminated against interstate commerce. California's method assigned a higher carbon intensity score to ethanol produced in the Midwest, which is otherwise chemically and physically identical to that produced in California, reports Bloomberg.
On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, reports The Associated Press.
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is a California Air Resources Board (ARB) regulation promulgated to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California 10 percent by 2020. It is designed to help clean the air, protect the environment, and drive the development of clean, low-carbon fuels to improve California’s “energy security and energy independence,” according to the ARB.
The standard has faced opposition from the oil and ethanol industries, which argue that the ARB grossly overestimated how much biofuel can be brought to market to offset higher-carbon fossil fuels. The Western States Petroleum Association calls the LCFS a “disaster-in-the-making” that will raise the price of fuel for consumers, reports Climate Watch.
The Ninth Circuit’s action means that regulatory reporting requirements are once again being enforced. Because Judge O’Neill’s injunction was in effect when the 2011 fourth quarter reports were due, the ARB will allow those regulated parties that have not yet submitted their 2011 fourth quarter reports to submit those reports no later than April 30, 2012. The 2011 annual compliance reports are due the same date.
- District Court Enjoins New California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (FindLaw’s California Case Law Blog)
- California Health & Safety Code §38561 (FindLaw)
- Study: Low-Carbon Fuel Standards Are Unlikely to Reduce Warming (The New York Times)