Wednesday, February 3, 2010

US Freight Truck Group Join Protest Against Anti Pollution Body

ATA to back Court Case Against Californian Pollution Watchdog
Shipping News Feature

US - Once again the battle lines are drawn up between the environmentally sound principles of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the equally passionate practicalities of the states truckers supporting a mixed group of farmers’ representatives, renewable fuel producers and supporters as the state pushes for a lower carbon fuel standard. The new law will mean that within ten years all fuel sold in the state must produce 10% less carbon than at present. Only military trucks are exempt and feelings run high amongst the California’s freight truck firms who say this is an imposition too far.

The American Trucking Associations yesterday joined in a law suit initiated by the Center for North American Energy Security, Consumer Energy Alliance and National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. The crux of the argument is that a state wide legislation merely transfers the low cost petroleum and diesel available from areas where it is not mandatory with the associated extra costs. The scheme discriminates against companies like POET LLC, which produce ethanol from biomass materials and who it is reported, have filed a separate suit and say there will be no overall gain from implementing a change.

The ATA legal challenge is largely based on the Commerce Clause with assertions that the "shuffling" of low-carbon fuel to California and away from other states will significantly burden fuel providers and consumers without any net change in fuel's carbon-intensity on a global scale.

The scheme, say the ATA, will effectively ban the sale of fuels derived from unconventional sources such as converted domestic coal and oil from sands or shale in Canada and the western USA. The rule will also apply it seems to sales not use and therefore out of state truckers might continue to pass through parts of the state with impunity. If that is the case we may possibly have the situation which existed in Ireland some years ago when truckers close to the border would cross, fill bulk tanks with cheaper fuel and then cross back to use up their reserves on their own fleets.

CARB have reacted strongly to the challenge. In a statement the chairman Mary Nichols said of the objectors:

"Their actions are shameful. This is a critical tool to help us break our dependence on fossil fuels. It will protect us from volatile oil prices and provide consumers with cleaner fuels and provide the nation with greater energy security. Our analysis shows that producing alternative fuels under this standard can save consumers as much as $11 billion over the next decade, and that's in California alone. Instead of fighting us in court, they should be working with us to provide consumers in California and the rest of the nation with the next generation of cleaner fuels."