9th Circuit opinion preserves momentum for Clean Fuels Standards

Appeals court upholds lower court ruling dismissing industry challenge to clean-transportation policy created to address climate change

PORTLAND, OR – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion today upholding a lower court’s ruling dismissing industry claims against Oregon’s groundbreaking Clean Fuels Standard.

The clean-transportation policy,  implemented in 2015, has already reduced climate pollution by more than 1.7 million tons, or the equivalent of 365,000 cars off the road, in its first two years. The Clean Fuels Standard aims to help Oregon address climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by 10 percent over the course of a decade. Historically, tailpipe emissions have been responsible for nearly 40 percent of Oregon’s greenhouse gas pollution.

When oil industry opponents challenged the rule in federal court, Earthjustice intervened on behalf of the Oregon Environmental Council and Climate Solutions to defend Oregon’s forward-looking rule from Big Oil’s attack.

“The ruling in favor of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program from the 9th Circuit is great news for cleaner air and consumers in Oregon,” said Oregon Environmental Council Executive Director Andrea Durbin. “With this legal attack by the out-of-state oil industry settled, Oregon can move forward and enjoy the benefits of this program, which includes significant pollution reductions, investment support for Oregon businesses and regional job creation.”

“A legal victory against an industry attempt to block a meaningful climate measure is a win for us all,” said Earthjustice attorney Amanda Goodin. “Oregon’s clean fuels rule creates a marketplace for less carbon-intensive fuels, and encourages innovation in producing the cleanest and greenest transportation fuels.”

“Today’s court decision is a victory for the people and our climate,” said Gregg Small, Executive Director at Climate Solutions. “Cleaner fuels means healthier air, homegrown jobs, and fossil free choices at the pump. The oil industry has shown time after time that they will try to maintain their monopoly on transportation fuels, but we are now moving beyond oil.”

And the Department of Environmental Quality released this statement earlier today.

“Today’s ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit confirms that the Oregon Clean Fuels Program is legal.  The Clean Fuels Program is a critical component of Oregon’s work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. In the first two years, the Clean Fuels Program prevented 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and is projected to reduce over 8 million tons of GHG emissions by 2025.  The Oregon Clean Fuels Program is a notable early success for our state in reducing emissions that harm public health and contribute to climate change.”


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