Oil Check Oregon

Oil companies sue Oregon over clean fuels; use the same arguments they lost on in California

MARCH 31st - No sooner has Oregon passed a clean fuels standard than oil companies are suing over the law. Before the bill was even signed, the Western State Petroleum Association filed suite against the laws implementation.

The Low-Carbon Fuel Standard requires fuels in the state to have 10 percent less carbon pollutants by 2025. Fuel importers can do this by mixing in biofuels or by buying clean fuel credits from alternative fuel producers or projects.

This bill has passed the Oregon legislature and been signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, but oil companies insist on wasting Oregonians' time and money on arguments that have long since been ruled on.

“It is the position of WSPA and its member companies that Oregon’s low-carbon fuel standard program is infeasible and could do irreparable damage to the state’s energy market,” said WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd in a prepared statement.

Following suite last week, the American Trucking Association, Consumer Energy Alliance and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers joined the WSPA in suing over the law.

"Greenhouse gas emissions have the same impact regardless of where they are emitted, and forcing the consumption of low-carbon fuels in Oregon -- or in any state -- will not reduce global carbon emissions due to fuel shuffling," said AFPM General Counsel Rich Moskowitz.

Each of these arguments essentially boils down to the same point of view. Everyone uses oil so anything we do to try and shift away from fossil fuels will be meaningless and hurt the local economy.

While we appreciate concerns for Oregon’s wellbeing from out of state oil companies, lets be clear how wrong their claims are.


Image provided by the Environmental Defense Fund

You can see in the image above just how many times oil companies have predicted exuberant price increases from fuel standards only to be wrong by dramatic margins. These standards have proven time and again that we can promote alternatives and reduce pollutants without hurting the consumer.

Our neighbors to the south in California already have a clean fuels standard and we saw the same playbook from oil companies in their efforts to fight it. In 2013, after several years of costly litigation, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the clean fuels standard did not violate the commerce clause of the constitution. This ruling shuts down arguments like the ones from the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers that these types of standards cannot be different state to state.

Oil companies in California also made bold predictions about prices skyrocketing and every time they were wrong.

Having been rejected by one state, these oil associations are trying their luck a second time. For Oregonians, this means costly litigation and further delays. All for arguments that have already been shot down.

Nick Abraham - editor and lead contributor of Oil Check Northwest

[email protected]


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