Calif. Court of Appeals knocks back California Low Carbon Fuel Standard in POET suit

By Jim Lane : biofuelsdigest – excerpt

In California, the Fifth District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in POET, LLC v. California Air Resources Board, which challenged the Low Carbon Fuel Standard adopted by the Air Resources Board. (Super. Ct. No. 09CECG04659 )

The Court ruled for POET on every one of its substantive challenges, reversed the decision of the Superior Court affirming the LCFS, and ordered that ARB’s approval of the LCFS be set aside.  The Court also ruled that ARB must, among other things, re-evaluate the LCFS’s overall environmental impacts, and allow public comment on several controversial issues including the carbon intensity values attributed to ethanol based on the theory of indirect land use change, which has been disputed and debunked by many in the scientific community

The Court concluded that ARB violated CEQA by: (1) prematurely approving the LCFS regulations before completing the necessary environmental review, (2) splitting the authority for project approval from responsibility for completing environmental review, and (3) improperly deferring formulation of mitigation measures.  As an initial matter, the Court confirmed that ARB’s actions were still subject to certain requirements of CEQA.  The LCFS regulations were adopted under a certified regulatory program, which exempted ARB from the requirements for preparing initial studies, negative declaration, or environmental impact reports.  Yet, ARB was still required to comply with other provisions of CEQA… (more)

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