NFIB Stands Up for States’ Rights
Washington, D.C., April 21, 2014 – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center has joined with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. The brief argues that California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is unconstitutional and that California is unfairly discriminating against out-of-state fuels and exceeding its jurisdictional powers.
“The cost of energy remains one of the top concerns of small business owners, who rely on affordable energy to operate their businesses successfully. In fact, for NFIB members, energy costs are one of their top expenses and are ranked as the third-most important priority,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. “As small business owners continue to struggle in this fragile economy, state mandates like California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, only further depress growth by raising energy costs for America’s job creators.”
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires producers of ethanol, crude oil and other fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold or supplied to California. The LCFS regulations aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring that fuel sold in California must meet certain standards. The analysis takes into account both the emissions that are released when consumers use the fuel and those emissions resulting from production and transportation to the end user.
In 2009, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union challenged the LCFS. Rocky Mountain claimed the LCFS regulations violated the Constitution because they inappropriately regulated out-of-state conduct.
A federal trial court ruled in late 2011 that the fuel standard was unconstitutional because it discriminated against out-of-state fuel producers. However in 2013, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed the lower court’s decision and ruled that California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard did not discriminate against out-of-state fuel producers.
The NFIB Small Business Legal Center is a 501(c)(3) organization created to protect the rights of America’s small business owners by providing advisory material on legal issues and by ensuring that the voice of small business is heard in the nation’s courts. The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.