Sunday, February 7, 2010
Oil, trucking industry interests sue to block California low-carbon fuel regulations
California's innovative low-carbon fuel regulations, enacted last year in an effort to lower the state's contribution to greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, are the subject of a lawsuit by oil and trucking interests.The regulations, which were finalized by the state's Air Resources Board last month, require fuel manufacturers to reduce the carbon intensity of their product by 10 percent by 2020.They require producers to account for indirect use of carbon in fuels, including during the manufacturing or refining processes. That mandate is controversial because, among other impacts, it may force corn farmers producing ethanol to account for the loss of land otherwise available to grow food and for wildlife habitat.California Air Resources Board chairperson Mary Nichols condemned the litigation, arguing that the regulations will save consumers money, lower fossil fuel use and reduce air pollution."Their actions are shameful," Nichols said in a statement. "Instead of fighting us in court, they should be working with us to provide consumers in California and the rest of the nation with the next generation of cleaner fuels."Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, American Truckers Association, Center for North American Energy Security, and Consumer Energy Alliance.A spokesperson for the American Truckers Association told the New York Times that the regulations would raise the cost of fuel and equipment too much. The litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.A similar lawsuit was filed in December by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, California Dairy Campaign, Renewable Fuels Association and other groups, and a private ethanol company has challenged the regulations in California state court.The complaint filed by the refiners and truckers interests is here.