SACRAMENTO, CA – A federal judge on Dec. 29 ruled that the California Air Resources Board’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) regulations violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and unfairly discriminate against corn-based ethanol producers located outside California.

In addition, the court concluded that CARB failed to establish there are no alternative means for reducing greenhouse gases to combat global warming.

The LCFS rules, adopted in April 2010, are designed to reduce the carbon footprint of fuel producers, refiners and importers. The carbon footprint that's subject to regulation is calculated based on emissions related to the fuel's life cycle.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill issued the preliminary injunction, which at least temporarily stops California’s ability to enforce the LCFS during pending litigation. The plaintiffs challenging the regulations include farming organizations and two ethanol industry groups, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association. 

CARB plans to ask the court to clarify the ruling, the Los Angeles Times reported. The agency also intends to appeal the decision to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

To view the court decision, click here.