NATION & WORLD Low-carbon fuels rule blocked
By GARANCE BURKE Associated Press
blocked California from enforcing its fi rst-in-the-nation mandate for cleaner, low-carbon fuels on Dec. 29, saying the rules favor biofuels produced in the state.
ulations, which were adopted as part of California’s landmark 2006 global warm- ing law, was fi led in federal court in 2010 by a coalition that includes the National Petrochemical & Refi ners Association and the Consumer Energy Alliance. Fresno-based U.S.
Judge Lawrence O’Neill’s written ruling Dec. 29 said the low-carbon fuel rules vi- olated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against crude oil and biofuels producers located outside California.
Out-of-state fuels producers hailed the decision as a win for California driv- ers.
“Today’s decision ... struck down a misguided policy that would have result- ed in even higher fuel costs for Califor- nian consumers while increasing the cost
District Court The lawsuit challenging the state reg- FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge
of business throughout the state,” Con- sumer Energy Alliance Executive Vice President Michael Whatley said. The California Air Resources Board
plans to ask the judge to stay the ruling, and appeal if necessary to the San Fran- cisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Ap- peals, spokesman Dave Clegern said. The rule is “an evenhanded standard
that encourages the use of cleaner low carbon fuels by regulating fuel-providers in California,” Clegern said, adding that it “does not discriminate against any fu- els on the basis of geography.” Beginning this year, the standard has
required petroleum refi ners, companies that blend fuel and distributors to gradu- ally increase the cleanliness of the fuel they sell in California. The board previously had said the
intensive than gasoline is now. The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the California Dairy Campaign, the Re- newable Fuels Associations and other groups fi led a similar lawsuit in the same court in 2009. Their complaint said the regulation confl icted with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and would close California’s borders to corn ethanol made in other states. The fuel standard
against out-of-state and foreign crude oil while giving an economic advantage to in-state crude oil,” O’Neil wrote Dec. 29. The nonprofi t legal organization
low-carbon mandate will reduce Cali- fornia’s dependence on petroleum by 20 percent and account for one-tenth of the state’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emis- sions by 2020. The regulation does not mandate spe-
cifi c alternative fuels. Rather, it assigns a so-called carbon-intensity score to vari- ous fuels. By 2020 all vehicles fuels, on average, must be 10 percent less carbon-
“Mitchell’s is always seeking highly motivated employees.”
Earthjustice, which was not party to the suit but works on climate-related issues, said the state’s clean energy programs are consistent with federal law. “California is leading the way on cleaner fuels and a cleaner power grid,” Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen said. “It is not surprising that the oil in- dustry is attacking these programs, but like previous attacks in the courts and at the ballot box, we expect this one ul- timately to fail.” Associated Press writer Jason Dearen contributed to this report.
Thursday, January 5, 2012 ■ Page 15
fi cials said Dec. 31 they believe the latest earthquake activity in north- east Ohio is not related to the injec- tion of wastewater into the ground near a fault line. The brine wastewater comes from
Offi cials: Quakes, fracking unrelated McDONALD, Ohio (AP) — Of-
drilling operations that use the so- called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale. But Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer said during a news teleconference that fracking is not causing the quakes. “The seismic events are not a di-
rect result of fracking,” he said. Zehringer said four injection
wells within a fi ve-mile radius of an already shuttered well in Youngstown will remain inactive while further scientifi c research is conducted. A 4.0-magnitude quake Dec. 31 in McDonald,
Youngstown, was the 11th in a series of minor earthquakes in the area, many of which have struck near the Youngstown injection well. The quake caused no serious injuries or property damage, Zehringer said.
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