California appellate court hears oral arguments in Poet LCFS case
The 5th District Court of Appeals heard oral arguments March 23 in the case of Poet vs. California Air Resources Board. The attorneys for Poet argued that ARB acted in bad faith by not completely addressing the California Environmental Quality Act violations as directed by the court and are seeking a suspension of the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to 2013 levels and a complete severance of biodiesel from the regulation.
The attorney general’s office, representing ARB, argued that ARB did act in good faith by adopting the Alternative Diesel Fuel regulation and disclosing through numerous public hearings the NOx issues related to biodiesel. The attorney general argued Poet’s remedy would harm the biodiesel industry and others who are not to blame for ARB’s unintended mistakes. She also argued Poet’s remedy would have negative impacts on the environment. The attorney general requested the court to request ARB to address the needed corrections in a timely fashion with no changes to the LCFS. In the alternative, the attorney general argued that ARB could suspend LCFS credits for biodiesel for the remainder of 2017 and leave the other elements of the LCFS intact, giving the ARB enough time to address the remaining CEQA violations.
“The California Air Resources Board has worked hard over the past several years to create a program that is now successfully bringing cleaner fuels into the marketplace,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Biodiesel is a clean, American-made fuel that has dramatic emissions benefits. Under the LCFS, credits generated from biodiesel comprise about a quarter of overall program compliance. Unfortunately, this lawsuit appears to be far more about market share for specific companies than clean air for Californians.”
The case is now in the hands of the court, which should render a decision in the next 90 days.
Author: Celia Dubose
Executive Director, California Biodiesel Alliance