Supreme Court Denies Challenge to Oregon Clean Fuel Standards

Monday, The U.S. Supreme Court denied a challenge from the oil industry to Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program standards..

Oregon’s legislature passed The Clean Fuel Program in 2015. It requires out-of-state oil companies to reduce the amount of carbon pollution they emit via diesel and gasoline by 10 percent in 10 years—beginning in 2016. According to a statement from the Oregon Environmental Council, the policy has already transportation assoicated pollutants by 2.73 tons – which they say is roughly equivalent to removing 580,000 cars from the road for a year. The program also offers economic incentives aimed at developing and marketing fuels that pollute less.

The lawsuit was filed four years ago by the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the American Trucking Association and Consumer Energy Alliance.  The lawsuit argued the new law impermissibly regulated out-of-state fuel production and favored certain Oregon biofuels over out-of-state fuel sources like oil and gas, and because of this, it violated the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.

However, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had already rejected those arguments in September, ruling Oregon’s law is constitutional because it does not judge fuels based on their place of production, only on their climate pollution.

Environmental advocates view the Supreme Court’s denying review of the case a victory.

“Big Oil’s last ditch effort to undercut state authority to require cleaner fuels has failed again,” Amanda Goodin, an attorney with Earthjustice, said in a statement. “This will help pave the way for more states to adopt programs to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with confidence that their efforts will be upheld in court.”