Fuel pumps at a gas station

State Efforts

Econ­o­my-Wide Programs

Cal­i­for­nia

  • 2013

    In 2013, Cal­i­for­nia imple­ment­ed a first-in-the-nation pro­gram to reduce green­house gas emis­sions from all sec­tors of its econ­o­my. As part of the pro­gram, approx­i­mate­ly 450 busi­ness­es in the state’s pow­er, indus­tri­al and fuel dis­tri­b­u­tion sec­tors that are respon­si­ble for rough­ly 85 per­cent of the state’s green­house gas emis­sions must com­ply with annu­al lim­its on green­house gas emis­sions that decrease year-over-year. California’s econ­o­my-wide pro­gram has been high­ly suc­cess­ful: the state achieved its goal of reduc­ing its green­house gas emis­sions lev­els to 1990 emis­sions lev­els before its 2020 tar­get date, while the state’s econ­o­my has con­tin­ued to grow.

  • 2017

    In 2017, Cal­i­for­nia signed an agree­ment with the Cana­di­an province of Que­bec to con­tin­ue com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each oth­er regard­ing pos­si­ble changes to their respec­tive green­house gas emis­sions reduc­tion pro­grams that the two juris­dic­tions had linked through local­ly-adopt­ed reg­u­la­tions. The linked pro­grams allow reg­u­lat­ed com­pa­nies in both juris­dic­tions to find eco­nom­i­cal­ly effi­cient ways to com­ply with both juris­dic­tions’ reg­u­la­to­ry pro­grams for reduc­ing green­house gas emissions.

2017-2021

  • Octo­ber 2019

    In Octo­ber 2019, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion sued Cal­i­for­nia in fed­er­al dis­trict court in Cal­i­for­nia to inval­i­date the 2017 agree­ment between Cal­i­for­nia and Que­bec. The admin­is­tra­tion alleged that California’s agree­ment with Que­bec vio­lat­ed for­eign affairs-relat­ed pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion, includ­ing the Treaty Clause, (pro­hi­bi­tion on states sign­ing treaties with for­eign gov­ern­ments), Com­pact Clause (pro­hi­bi­tion on states enter­ing into com­pacts with a for­eign pow­er) and the For­eign Affairs Doc­trine (pres­i­dent has for­eign affairs authority).

  • Jan­u­ary 2020

    In Jan­u­ary 2020, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Xavier Becer­ra filed a motion in oppo­si­tion to the administration’s Decem­ber 2019 motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment and a cross motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment in favor of the state. The brief not­ed that the 2017 agree­ment between the juris­dic­tions to coor­di­nate regard­ing local­ly-adopt­ed and applic­a­ble green­house gas emis­sions reduc­tion reg­u­la­to­ry pro­grams does not vio­late the Treaty Clause or the Com­pact Clause because the agree­ment does not impli­cate the weighty mat­ters of nation­al con­cern that the claus­es are designed to pro­tect. Fur­ther, nei­ther the 2017 agree­ment nor the local­ly adopt­ed link­age reg­u­la­tions encroach upon the fed­er­al government’s for­eign affairs author­i­ty; and there is no evi­dence sup­port­ing the claim that the agree­ment or reg­u­la­tions has had any impact on the fed­er­al government.

  • Feb­ru­ary 2020

    The fol­low­ing month, Feb­ru­ary 2020, Ore­gon Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ellen Rosen­blum led four­teen attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing an ami­cus brief in sup­port of deny­ing the administration’s motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment and grant­i­ng California’s cross-motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment. The brief not­ed that the 2017 agree­ment mere­ly pro­vides a frame­work for Cal­i­for­nia and Que­bec to com­mu­ni­cate about the coor­di­na­tion of both juris­dic­tions’ green­house gas emis­sions reduc­tion reg­u­la­tions and does not require con­gres­sion­al con­sent under the Com­pact Clause. Fur­ther, the 2017 agree­ment is not a polit­i­cal alliance pro­hib­it­ed by the Treaty Clause as for­mal­iz­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and coor­di­nat­ing process to man­age local envi­ron­men­tal harms is an objec­tive that falls with­in states’ tra­di­tion­al reg­u­la­to­ry realm.

  • March 2020

    In March 2020, the fed­er­al dis­trict court in Cal­i­for­nia grant­ed California’s cross motion for sum­ma­ry judge­ment. The court ruled in favor of the state as it found that the state’s 2017 agree­ment with Que­bec does not rep­re­sent a treaty” with­in Arti­cle I of the Con­sti­tu­tion and does not rise to the lev­el of a com­pact” under the Com­pact Clause of the Constitution.

  • May 2020

    In May 2020, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra again filed a motion in oppo­si­tion to the administration’s sec­ond motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment and a cross-motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment in favor of the state. The brief not­ed that the administration’s asser­tion that the 2017 agree­ment is pre­empt­ed must fail. First, the admin­is­tra­tion failed to show a clear con­flict between the agree­ment and an express for­eign pol­i­cy or with the Unit­ed Nations Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change suf­fi­cient to trig­ger con­flict pre­emp­tion under the For­eign Affairs doc­trine. Sec­ond, the brief high­light­ed that the administration’s claim that the 2017 agree­ment is pre­empt­ed because it cre­ates an obsta­cle to con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tions of author­i­ty has no basis in the law. Third, the brief point­ed out that the court already ruled in March 2020 that the 2017 agree­ment address­es tra­di­tion­al state pow­er to reg­u­late green­house gas emis­sions, under­cut­ting a for­eign affairs-based field pre­emp­tion claim.

  • May 2020

    Lat­er in May 2020, a coali­tion of 14 attor­neys gen­er­al led by Ore­gon Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rosen­blum filed an ami­cus brief in sup­port of deny­ing the administration’s motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment and grant­i­ng California’s cross-motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment. The brief not­ed that address­ing cli­mate change falls with­in tra­di­tion­al state respon­si­bil­i­ties and there­fore does not intrude on the fed­er­al government’s for­eign affairs pow­er. The coali­tion also point­ed out that the admin­is­tra­tion claimed the 2017 agree­ment con­flicts with fed­er­al for­eign pol­i­cy, but failed to iden­ti­fy an actu­al pol­i­cy and did not demon­strate how the 2017 agree­ment would inter­fere with the fed­er­al government’s abil­i­ty to nego­ti­ate an inter­na­tion­al cli­mate agreement.

  • July 2020

    In July 2020, the fed­er­al dis­trict court in Cal­i­for­nia ruled in favor of Cal­i­for­nia and the coali­tion of 14 attor­neys gen­er­al in grant­i­ng California’s motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment on the Trump administration’s sole remain­ing claim under the For­eign Affairs Doc­trine. The court held that the 2017 agree­ment is nei­ther barred by con­flict pre­emp­tion as the agree­ment did not con­flict with an express fed­er­al for­eign pol­i­cy nor is it barred by field pre­emp­tion as the agree­ment did not intrude on the fed­er­al government’s for­eign affairs power.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2020

    In Sep­tem­ber 2020, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion filed a notice of appeal chal­leng­ing the fed­er­al dis­trict court’s July 2020 order enter­ing a final judg­ment in favor of California.

Trans­porta­tion Sec­tor Programs

Low Car­bon Fuel Standards

Ore­gon

  • 2015

    In 2015, the Ore­gon Envi­ron­men­tal Qual­i­ty Com­mis­sion (OEQC) issued the state’s Low Car­bon Fuel Stan­dard (LCFS), which seeks to reduce green­house gas emis­sions from use and pro­duc­tion of trans­porta­tion fuels in Ore­gon to at least ten per­cent low­er than 2010 lev­els by 2025. The LCFS requires fuel importers or pro­duc­ers to main­tain an aver­age car­bon inten­si­ty of all trans­porta­tion fuels sold in the state below an annu­al lim­it. The stan­dard assigns car­bon inten­si­ties to fuels by cal­cu­lat­ing life­cy­cle green­house gas emis­sions, includ­ing on the basis of fuel type and where the fuel is pro­duced and refined.

  • March 2015

    Fol­low­ing the release of the rule by OEQC, the oil and gas and truck­ing indus­tries chal­lenged the legal­i­ty of the LCFS in fed­er­al court. The plain­tiffs alleged that the pro­gram uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly dis­crim­i­nates against out-of-state fuels by assign­ing petro­le­um and Mid­west ethanol high­er car­bon inten­si­ties than Ore­gon biofuels.

  • June 2015

    Ore­gon Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rosen­blum defend­ed the LCFS in court, argu­ing that the LCFS does not uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly dis­crim­i­nate against out-of-state fuels as the stan­dard dis­tin­guish­es among fuels on the basis of car­bon inten­si­ty. The dis­trict court sided with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rosenblum’s rea­son­ing and dis­missed the indus­try-led com­plaint. The Ninth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

  • Jan­u­ary 2019

    In Jan­u­ary 2019, the oil and gas truck indus­tries request­ed that the Supreme Court review the Ninth Circuit’s deci­sion to uphold Oregon’s LCFS

  • April 2019

    In April 2019, Ore­gon Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rosen­blum and Wash­ing­ton Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son filed a brief in oppo­si­tion to Supreme Court review of the Ninth Circuit’s deci­sion. The brief not­ed that the Ninth Cir­cuit prop­er­ly found that Oregon’s LCFS did not unlaw­ful­ly dis­crim­i­nate against out-of-state fuels, but instead law­ful­ly reg­u­lat­ed the car­bon inten­si­ty of fuels that are pur­chased in Ore­gon and that cause in-state harms.

  • May 2019

    In May 2019, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from the Ninth Circuit.

Cal­i­for­nia

Like Ore­gon, Cal­i­for­nia also has an LCFS, which sup­ports the use of low­er-car­bon alter­na­tive fuels in the state and is part of the state’s econ­o­my-wide green­house gas emis­sions reduc­tion program. 

  • 2009

    The Cal­i­for­nia Air Resources Board (CARB) adopt­ed its first LCFS reg­u­la­tion in 2009 and required that the aver­age car­bon inten­si­ty of trans­porta­tion fuels used in Cal­i­for­nia be reduced by ten per­cent by 2020.

  • 2013

    In 2013, on appeal from a Cal­i­for­nia fed­er­al dis­trict court deci­sion, the Ninth Cir­cuit in Rocky Moun­tain Farm­ers Union v. Corey reject­ed a chal­lenge from indus­try groups that the 2009 LCFS vio­lat­ed the Constitution’s Com­merce Clause. The court found that the 2009 stan­dard did not uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly reg­u­late extrater­ri­to­ri­al­ly because it only reg­u­lat­ed aver­age car­bon inten­si­ty of fuels sold in Cal­i­for­nia and did not uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly dis­crim­i­nate against out-of-state fuels.

  • 2015

    In 2015, CARB adopt­ed a new LCFS that was designed to reflect improved green­house gas life­cy­cle mod­el­ing and lessons from imple­ment­ing the 2009 stan­dard. Unde­terred by the Ninth Circuit’s 2013 deci­sion, indus­try groups again chal­lenged the 2015 LCFS as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al on large­ly the same grounds as in Rocky Mountain. 

  • March 2018

    The dis­trict court reject­ed indus­try chal­lenges to the 2015 stan­dard, and on appeal to the Ninth Cir­cuit in March 2018, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra argued that the plain­tiffs’ claims were with­out mer­it because the issues raised by the lit­i­ga­tion had already been decid­ed in California’s favor in Rocky Mountain. 

  • Jan­u­ary 2019

    In Jan­u­ary 2019, the Ninth Cir­cuit sided with Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra in hold­ing that the chal­lenges to the 2015 LCFS were large­ly pre­clud­ed by its pri­or deci­sion in Rocky Moun­tain and dis­missed the claims.

Mass­a­chu­setts: Cli­mate Mit­i­ga­tion Funding

  • Feb­ru­ary 2018

    In Feb­ru­ary 2018, Mass­a­chu­setts Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mau­ra Healey tes­ti­fied at a hear­ing before the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion on its use of $75 mil­lion in mit­i­ga­tion funds that were part of the set­tle­ment that the Attor­ney General’s Office secured with Volk­swa­gen for employ­ing tech­nol­o­gy to defeat fed­er­al emis­sion tests.

    Attor­ney Gen­er­al Healey’s tes­ti­mo­ny laid out three guide­lines for using the funds: advance an elec­tric vehi­cle infra­struc­ture build­out; devel­op a com­pre­hen­sive elec­tric vehi­cles plan to exceed the state’s cur­rent goal of 300,000 reg­is­tered zero emis­sion vehi­cles by 2025; and sup­port a path­way to meet­ing most of the state’s elec­tric pow­er needs with renew­able ener­gy by 2050

  • July 2018

    Based on the tes­ti­mo­ny it received at hear­ings, the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion released its draft plan for using the set­tle­ment funds in July 2018. The draft plan pro­pos­es fund­ing projects that will achieve the state’s green­house gas emis­sion reduc­tion tar­gets, reduce air pol­lu­tion in the trans­porta­tion sec­tor and pro­mote elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the state’s trans­porta­tion network.

  • Decem­ber 2018

    In Decem­ber 2018, the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion released its final plan for using the $75 mil­lion in mit­i­ga­tion funds. The fund­ing will be used to help the state achieve its green­house gas emis­sion reduc­tion tar­gets, reduce trans­porta­tion-relat­ed air pol­lu­tion and pro­mote elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the state’s trans­porta­tion network.