In Brief

Vol. 45 No. 4

Theodore L. Garrett is a partner of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. He is a past chair of the Section and is a contributing editor of Trends.

Constitutional law

The ethanol and crude oil provisions in California’s low carbon fuel standard do not violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit held. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, 730 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2013), rehearing en banc denied, ___F.3d ___, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1149 (Jan. 22, 2014). Reversing a district court ruling, the majority rejected plaintiffs’ claim that the standard is inherently discriminatory against out-of-state ethanol, stating that they would not “block California from developing this innovative, nondiscriminatory regulation to impede global warming.” The court did not rule on the issue of whether the California regulations are preempted by two federal laws, namely the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and remanded the lawsuit to the district court for further proceedings.

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