US court finds California’s low carbon fuel laws unconstitutional

A district court in the US yesterday found California’s low carbon fuel laws unconstitutional. The ruling could come as a blow to the state which set itself up as a […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A district court in the US yesterday found California’s low carbon fuel laws unconstitutional. The ruling could come as a blow to the state which set itself up as a green example with its Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the first of its kind in the country.

Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger first established the LCFS in January 2007 and it was intended to cut the carbon intensity of transport fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions 10% in the state by 2020. The LCFS set a fee for companies falling in line with rules as well as a fine for breaching them or deliberately misinforming authorities.

But fuel groups complained it was invalid because it violated a clause of the American Constitution which governs business between states.

US trade body the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association welcomed the district court ruling as a “victory” for consumers.

Charles T. Drevna, NPRA President said: “The decision is a victory for the millions of Californians who travel the state every day in vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel fuel manufactured by our members. If these standards had remained in place they would have done nothing for the environment but would have created a regulatory nightmare for fuel manufacturers.”

He added: “Different states could have followed California’s example and created a patchwork quilt of varying fuel standards that would have raised the costs of manufacturing gasoline and diesel fuel across the United States. This would have resulted in all pain and no gain for the American people.”