Court Halts California's Enforcement of Low Carbon Standard, Petroleum Industries Gear Up for Massive Campaign

Just as the ethanol tax break expires, which we reported on today, a U.S. court halted California’s enforcement of its first-in-the-nation Low Carbon Fuel Standard because it "discriminates
against the import of ethanol and crude oil into the state."

The court says the rules violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which leaves regulation of interstate commerce to the federal government, and granted a motion to stop  enforcement while the case moves forward.

The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and ethanol industry challenged the regulations, arguing they will lead to higher costs for consumers.

Adopted in 2009, California’s Standard requires the carbon-intensity of transportation fuels to decline 10% by 2020, and starting this year, companies have to reduce their carbon scores.

The state ranks the carbon intensity of 250 fuels, and favors less carbon intensive fuels to be used in the state, which leaves out tar sands crude and discourages ethanol.

Fossil Fuels Ready for 2012 Campaign

Meanwhile, the powerful oil and natural gas trade association, The American Petroleum Institute, is gearing up to make "Energy" a major campaign issue in the 2012 Presidential election.

Its president said today: if the President doesn’t approve the tar sands pipeline there will be "huge political consequences."

They already have a new advertising campaign running in
several swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia (as if the constant TV ads promoting tar sands and natural gas aren’t enough).

The "Vote 4 Energy" campaign will include radio, television and print ads to "help Americans understand what’s at stake and why energy issues should figure prominently in their voting decisions."

Are they calling for more renewable energy to clean up our air and water and to address the onslaught of climate change? No, they want expanded domestic oil-and-gas production to be a top-tier
priority for the candidates.  

"We believe the key to America’s energy future and
prosperity as a nation are oil projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, opening up Alaska’s coast to offshore oil drilling, and expanding hydraulic fracturing around the country. Stay tuned for the launch of our new Vote 4 Energy multimillion dollar ad campaign, featuring regular citizens from across America!"

That’s what a new website from Greenpeace says about the fossil fuel industry campaign. See their Vote 4 Oil website, which is a response to the industry’s Vote 4 Energy website, which touts oil and gas as a huge jobs engine.  

Fossil Fuels Make Congress Rich

Have you heard this? Nearly half our Congressional representatives are millionaires (and Tea Party members are a majority of them). Between 2004-2010, the median net income of our reps grew 15%, while that of much of the country’s citizenry significantly declined.

At least some of that rise in income comes from fossil fuel company contributions, which amounted to $1.2 million from oil industry PACs in just the first half of 2011. 94% of the House members who received such funds voted to keep oil industry subsidies flowing.

In the presidential race, GOP candidate Rick Perry has raised $1.2 million from the energy sector, Mitt Romney $532,000, and Barack Obama $395,000.  (If you’re talking just oil and gas, the figures are: Perry $648,000, Romney $274,000, and Obama $83,000.)  And that’s obviously just the beginning. 

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