2011 News Releases

Federal court strikes down California air-quality law

Release Date: Dec 30, 2011

Decision preserves market for Kansas ethanol

TOPEKA – (December 30, 2011) – A federal court has agreed with Kansas that a California law favoring California-produced ethanol over that manufactured in the Midwest is unconstitutional, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.

In an order entered yesterday, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California barred California from enforcing its state-based Low Carbon Fuel Standards. In March, Kansas and five other Midwestern states had filed a brief asking the court to block the California law because it favored use of California-produced ethanol over that produced in the Midwest in violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

“This is good news for Kansas ethanol producers and for our state’s farmers who sell grain to them,” Schmidt said. “It means that the California market remains open to Kansas ethanol, and it means that Kansas ethanol can continue to be part of the solution to air-quality problems on the west coast.”

Schmidt joined with attorneys general from Nebraska, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota in asking the Court to block the California law because it discriminated against the use of ethanol produced in the Midwest without any lawful basis for doing so. Yesterday, the court agreed.

“This Court finds that the [California fuel standard] impermissibly discriminates against out-of-state corn ethanol and impermissibly regulates extraterritorially in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause and its jurisprudence,” the Court wrote in its opinion.

Schmidt said he is encouraged by the Court’s decision and believes it will stand up on appeal. If the State of California decides to appeal the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco would have jurisdiction to hear the matter. The case is Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Goldstene.

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News Release Archive

News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.