Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt this week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case contending California’s fuel standards unfairly discriminate against Midwestern ethanol.
Schmidt, along with the attorneys general of 20 other states, filed a brief in support of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, asking the Court to review a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The Farmers Union contends that the fuel standard is unconstitutional because it unfairly restricts interstate commerce by effectively prohibiting the use of ethanol produced in Midwestern states. The attorneys general brief argues that the Low Carbon Fuel Standard facially discriminates against interstate commerce by assigning a higher “carbon intensity” to ethanol production pathways based, in part, on the distance the product must travel to reach the California marketplace.
“Kansas ethanol producers should have the same access to the California market as California ethanol producers,” Schmidt said. “By arbitrarily discriminating against fuels produced in the Midwest, California’s fuel standards unfairly restrict the free flow of goods between states and prevent Kansas fuels from reaching California consumers.”
In 2011, a federal judge agreed that the fuel standards were unfairly discriminatory. However, that decision was reversed last year by a deeply divided 9th Circuit, which upheld the fuel standards. The case is Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey.