A coalition of ethanol and agriculture groups, including the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy, have filed a brief urging the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a court-ordered injunction on the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS).
At issue is California’s request for a stay of the injunction issued by District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill when he ruled in December that the new fuel regulation issued by the California Air Resource Board (CARB) violated the Commerce Clause and was therefore unconstitutional.
In the brief filed Thursday night with the Ninth Circuit, RFA and Growth Energy argue that staying Judge O’Neill’s injunction would harm and disrupt the Midwest ethanol industry, but would not appreciably advance the goals of the LCFS. Growth Energy and RFA provided extensive evidence that Midwest ethanol producers have already been shut out of the California market, and that the LCFS has caused inefficient “shuffling” of fuel previously sold in California to other markets, and vice versa. While the LCFS has come at great cost to the ethanol industry, it has produced no environmental benefits.
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis and RFA CEO Bob Dinneen issued a joint statement to the press in response to questions about the case:
“We are hopeful that the Ninth Circuit Court will see the merits of our argument to uphold Judge O’Neill’s injunction. Ultimately, we believe California’s low carbon fuel standard should be designed and implemented in a fair and legal manner. If we are going to have a low-carbon society, we need to have a low-carbon fuel. Ethanol is the only commercially-viable, low-carbon fuel we have today.”
The two ethanol associations joined in December 2009 to file a lawsuit seeking to stop the LCFS because it would discriminate against Midwest ethanol producers, blocking them from selling clean, renewable ethanol into the California market.