Supreme Court declines petition to review California's LCFS

By Erin Voegele | June 30, 2014

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s September 2013 ruling on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That ruling found that the LCFS program is constitutional, overturning a prior ruling that it violates interstate commerce laws.

The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy were among the groups that petitioned the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision. That petition was filed in March.  In April, a group of 21 states also filed a brief requesting the Supreme Court review the ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court last year. 

The RFA and Growth Energy responded to the Supreme Court’s decision in a joint statement. “We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court has declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision, despite the broad support for the petition—including 21 states. We will continue our efforts to protect the American biofuel industry and the national interest and will continue to ensure that all consumers have access to low-priced, American-made biofuels,” said the groups.

The legal battle over the LCFS program has been ongoing for several years. The ethanol industry first challenged the LCFS in late 2009, when the RFA and Growth Energy filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Fresno, California.  In late 2011, that court sided with the ethanol industry, ruling that the LCFS was unconstitutional because it violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. An appeal was later filed. On Sept. 18, 2013, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals published its decision. The ruling, made by a panel of three judges, reversed the District Court’s ruling, finding that the LCFS does not facially discriminate against out-of-state commerce.