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Brazil's Sugarcane Ethanol Industry Defends California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard

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Amicus Brief Filed in Federal Court Rebuts Challenges to California’s Important Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program

WASHINGTON, DC, May 6, 2010 -- In court papers filed yesterday, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) defended the State of California’s right to lower the carbon footprint of transportation fuels used in that state.

UNICA, the leading trade association for the Brazilian ethanol industry, filed an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief rebutting lawsuits filed against California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) by the petroleum, trucking and corn ethanol industries.

“With about one in every ten U.S. cars driven in California, the largest state in the country with one of the highest carbon intensities in the world is seeking to do its share to fight climate change,” said Joel Velasco, UNICA’s Chief Representative in North America. “After exhaustive study, state officials have identified sugarcane ethanol as an important part of the solution to achieving California’s low-carbon goals, and our industry is prepared to help meet the challenge.”

The National Petroleum Refiners Association and others, including the two leading corn ethanol groups, the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, have challenged California’s LCFS on grounds that the regulations violate the Commerce and Supremacy clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The State of California’s Attorney General has asked the Court to dismiss the case. The matter will be heard on May 26, 2010, before Judge Lawrence O'Neill in Federal District Court in Fresno, California.

In its Amicus brief, UNICA asserts that the LCFS is valid and consistent with the Constitution’s Commerce Clause since: 1) the LCFS does not discriminate against fuels from outside the state to promote local economic interests; 2) the benefits to California’s legitimate interest in responding to the threat of climate change outweigh the incidental burden on interstate commerce; and, 3) the LCFS does not regulate conduct outside the state. Further, the brief argues the LCFS is not preempted under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, as the program is entirely consistent with Congress’s own program mandating the use of renewable fuels. Click here, for a full copy of UNICA’s brief.

“The chair of California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) has called the LCFS a ‘critical tool to help us break our dependence on fossil fuels that will protect us from volatile oil prices and provide consumers with cleaner fuels and provide the nation with greater energy security,’” concluded Velasco. “That’s why UNICA is urging Judge O’Neill to dismiss the lawsuits.”

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Ana Carolina Lessa
Public Affairs, North America
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