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Attorneys general seek Supreme Court review of California fuel standard

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 28, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to take up a case after alleging California's fuel standards unfairly discriminate against ethanol from the Midwest.

Schmidt joined the attorneys general of 20 other states in filing a brief in support of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union in the case Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. The brief asked the court to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that upheld California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

The farmers union alleges the fuel standard is unconstitutional because it restricts interstate commerce by prohibiting the use of ethanol produced in Midwestern states. The brief argues that the Low Carbon Fuel Standard discriminates against interstate commerce by assigning a higher carbon intensity to ethanol production based partly on the distance the product must travel to reach California.

"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."

A federal judge agreed with the attorneys general in 2011, deciding the fuel standards were unfairly discriminatory. The decision was reversed in 2013 by the Ninth Circuit Court, upholding the fuel standards.

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