Supreme Court Greenlights California’s Clean Fuels Plan

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WASHINGTON (June 30, 2014) – In a big win for the fight against climate change, the Supreme Court today declined oil and ethanol companies’ request to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).  This fuel standard is one part of California’s broader clean energy plan (AB32) and aims to cut carbon emissions associated with the production of fuels used by cars and trucks.

Following is a statement by David Pettit, Senior Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is another case of Big Oil and Big Ethanol trying to avoid cleaning up their act.  Thankfully, the highest court in the land just rejected their dubious claims about California’s fuel standard. 

“Californians deserve better, cleaner fuels for their cars and trucks. The State’s fuel standard will provide those options, while also spurring jobs and innovation and cutting harmful pollution. As dirty fuel producers drag their heels, California is leading the way and will continue to do so.”


In addition to cutting dangerous carbon pollution, LCFS aims to reduce dependence on oil and drive innovation of advanced fuels by incentivizing all fuel producers to reduce the carbon intensity of motor fuels sold in California. It includes performance-based standards that consider the entire production lifecycle of all fuel sold in California, regardless of its source. Big oil and ethanol claim California cannot set a standard to reduce the carbon emissions of motor fuels because, they allege, the state law imposes unconstitutional burdens on out-of-state fuel producers.

Last September, the Ninth Circuit Court sided with the State and other interveners, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), finding that the LCFS is not discriminatory toward out-of-state companies.  Oil companies and ethanol groups petitioned the Supreme Court for review in March 2014. By denying review of the case today, the Supreme Court remands the case back to District Court for trial. 

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter .

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