Federal court upholds California’s low carbon fuel standard


A federal appeals court has ruled 2-1 to remove a lower court’s injunction against California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

On Sept. 18, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals court vacated a federal district court’s injunction against the state’s Air Resources Board program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The appellate court affirmed the U.S. district’s court opinion the board had not violated interstate commerce with the standard, which regulates fuels based on the carbon produced in production, transportation and use.

But it remanded a related matter in the case to the lower court. The appeals court ordered the district court to gauge if the LCFS’s burden on interstate commerce clearly outweighs any local benefit gained from implementing that standard.

U.S. Appellate Judge Mary Murguia sided with the majority regarding crude oil regulations but dissented from their conclusion that the rules concerning ethanol do not facially discriminate against interstate commerce.

Oil refiners and oil produces challenged the LCFS the board approved following California’s passage of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act or A.B. 32.  Later, the American Trucking Associations joined the litigation because it said the standard would result in price hikes for end users while not reducing emissions.