11 States to Adopt California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

by | Jan 4, 2010

highway-carsEleven states plan to adopt California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), according to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, reports China View. The announcement was made nearly a year to date after the 11 states revealed plans to develop a regional “Low Carbon Fuel Standard” to reduce the carbon content in fuels used in vehicles and buildings.

The states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work toward adopting a regional Low Carbon Fuel Standard modeled after California’s standard, reports China View.

The memorandum of understanding indicates that the states pledge to develop a Low Carbon Fuel Standard that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels, and possibly heating fuels, reports the Providence Business News. It also sets a date for a proposed program framework to be completed by early 2011, according to the article.

Ten of the 11 states (with the exception of Pennsylvania) are partners in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants through a regional cap-and-trade program, reports the Providence Business News.

Transportation fuels contribute about 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the Mid-Atlantic region, according to a press release from the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is already working towards the use of lower carbon fuels. As an example, starting in January, all diesel fuel sold in Pennsylvania must contain at least 2 percent biodiesel, since in-state production capacity hit 40 million gallons a year at the end of 2008.

Under a state law Governor Rendell signed in July 2008, as Pennsylvania’s capacity to produce biodiesel grows, the required percentage of biodiesel use increases along with it, according to the press release.

Governor Schwarzenegger also noted that the adoption of the standard by the 11 states moves the country one step closer to a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard, reports China View. The standard calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s transportation fuels by 10 percent by 2020.

However, the oil industry is fighting the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, reports The Hill. The American Petroleum Institute said in written statements that the standard would “lead to higher costs and greater bureaucracy without achieving any progress in cutting national greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the article.

Ethanol producers are also challenging the standard. Ethanol trade groups Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, along with Ohio state and farm groups, have filed a federal lawsuite against California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which will be phased in starting in 2011, reports the Akron Beacon Journal.

The suit alleges the LCFS discriminates against corn-based ethanol made primarily in the Midwest, which is a violation of the Commerce and Supremacy clauses of the U.S. Constitution, according to the article.

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