AFPM Petitions Supreme Court to Review California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

March 21, 2014

WASHINGTON – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States to review the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, No. 12-15131. The request for Supreme Court review follows a January 22, 2014 decision by the Ninth Circuit to deny rehearing en banc in a case that centers on the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).    


“California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) discriminates against fuel produced outside of the state and is an unlawful expansion of California’s regulatory authority to control the manner in which fuel is produced outside its borders,” said AFPM General Counsel Richard Moskowitz. “Moreover, AFPM believes that the harm the LCFS impermissibly inflicts on interstate and foreign commerce is too great to ignore, and therefore, we have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case,” Moskowitz added.


Litigation Timeline

February 2010 – AFPM along with the ATA, CEA, and the Center for North American Energy Security brought suit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB) challenging the constitutionality of the California LCFS program. A separate group of plaintiffs, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), filed a similar action.  

December 2011 – The district court granted AFPM’s motion for summary judgment and held that the California LCFS is invalid under the Commerce Clause because it discriminates against crude oil and ethanol produced outside the state and impermissibly regulates manufacturing activities outside of California.

September 2013 – A divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision, recognizing that California drew distinctions that favored California fuels over out-of-state competitors and sought to control commercial conduct occurring outside of California, but holding that California’s actions were nevertheless permissible under the Constitution.

January 2014 – The Ninth Circuit denied AFPM’s and RMFU’s petitions for an en banc rehearing of the case. In an opinion dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc, seven Ninth Circuit judges would have granted further review because, as a result of the majority’s decision, “[the Ninth Circuit] stand[s] in open defiance of controlling Supreme Court precedent.”     

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