Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to California fuel law

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday denied [order list, PDF] a petition for certiorari in an appeal from the US Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit [official website] decision [JURIST report] that California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard [text, PDF] does not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause. The regulation requires reduction of carbon emissions for fuels. Emissions are measured by a "lifecycle analysis," which includes production and transportation. Thus, out-of-state manufacturers argued that they are discriminated against because they have to transport their fuels farther than their California counterparts. In Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey [SCOTUSblog backgrounder, the court held that the regulation adopted by the state's Air Resources Board (ARB) [official website] does not facially discriminate against out-of-state companies. Thus, the court determined that California should be encouraged to find workable solutions in reducing or slowing carbon emissions which may prevent great harm to the public. The case was appealed [cert. petition, PDF] to the Supreme Court. The case was combined with American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Association v. Corey and Corey v. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union [SCOTUSblog backgrounders].

The rising emission of greenhouse gases has not been a new problem. Last week the US Supreme Court limited [JURIST report] the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] to regulate greenhouse gases while still leaving the agency free to do so in most cases. Last month the court ruled [JURIST report] in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that the EPA did not overstep its authority when it issued a regulation limiting power plants' emissions that cross state lines. In June 2012 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] upheld [JURIST report] the findings of the EPA that heat-trapping pollutants such as carbon dioxide are endangering the public health and welfare. The findings at issue laid out the foundations for EPA's new restriction of greenhouse gas emissions placed on car models build in 2012 and on new regulations on permits for power plants and factories. The EPA has been granted [JURIST report] authority under the CAA to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, by automobiles. In Massachusetts v. EPA [OYEZ backgrounder; JURIST report], 12 states and several environmental groups sued the EPA arguing that the agency had "abdicated its responsibility under the Clean Air Act" to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The court held that greenhouse gas was within the CAA's definition of "air pollutant" and thus, the EPA had statutory authority to take control the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles. In December 2010 the ARB approved measures [JURIST report] that will provide incentives to companies and factories that decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.

 

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