Thursday, April 30, 2009

CARB: "Whoops, our bad."

A corollary to the famous H.L. Mencken quote, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people," is: "Nobody ever went broke overestimating the power of the ethanol lobby!"

As the dust begins to settle from CARB's decision last week to approve the low carbon fuel standard, the agency has annonced that it might want to take a mulligan and rethink at least part of that decision.

Writing in Capitol Weekly, John Howard reports:

"A critical piece of California’s new law cutting carbon emissions from transportation fuels is getting a another look, with state air-quality regulators likely to vote by December on the issue known as “indirect land use.”

The months of new study follows complaints from ethanol producers and others who said the new rule unfairly targeted farmers who grow fuel crops."

By way of background and explanation, Howard also notes:

"Last week, California’s Air Resources Board approved the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, or LCFS, which is intended to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions by 10 percent from gasoline, diesel and other fuels by 2010. The regulation, the first of its kind in the world to combat greenhouse gases, would remove some 16 million metric tons of carbon from the air during the next 11 years, according to the board staff.

The new rule is intended consider the “carbon intensity” of fuels not only at combustion, but in the manufacture and distribution of the fuels, including gasoline, diesel, biofuels such as ethanol, and others. The regulation takes a “cradle-to-grave” approach to fuels, and it is this approach that has sparked complaints from ethanol producers, because it counts carbon emission used along the entire chain of ethanol production."

Between this about-face, and Sen. Specter's decision to switch parties based on polling data, a guy could start to get cynical about the legislative process in this country...

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