Consumer Energy Alliance sends letter to 11 Northeast governors asking officials to look before they leap on regional LCFS

WASHINGTON – December 28, 2009   The imposition of a California-style Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) on 11 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states would dramatically restrict consumers’ access to local and affordable supplies of motor and home heating fuel – all without doing a thing to limit global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the message conveyed this week by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), as the governors of these states decide whether to formally commit their constituents to a plan that could pave the way for higher prices at the pump, and sharp reductions in the availability of home heating oil.

“An LCFS isn’t about reducing carbon emissions, it’s about restricting access,” said CEA vice president Michael Whatley, who represented the organization in two regional LCFS hearings held earlier this winter. “Unfortunately, for residents of the Northeast, that means less access not only to affordable gas and diesel fuel, but to the critical fuel oils that are used to heat more than two million homes in the region.”

Earlier this month, CEA obtained a draft copy of the LCFS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) currently in circulation among the 11 states involved in the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), a group actively lobbying for an LCFS. In it, states are asked to endorse the statement that an LCFS is “a market-based, fuel-neutral program to address the carbon content of fuels” – even though in reality the plan is government- (not market-) directed, fuel-discriminatory (especially against those from Canada), and does nothing to reduce the carbon content of fuel (which is constant).

Additionally, the MOU demands that states “commit to promote and support a national LCFS program,” the clearest admission yet that a regional LCFS scheme cannot succeed unless its burden is extended via federal mandate to competitors in neighboring states. “That’s been the purpose of this effort all along,” added Whatley. “In regional stakeholder meetings and in the draft MOU, NESCAUM has stated its ultimate goal is to implement a bad regional policy that will push the federal government into passing a national mandate – even if it means the Northeast ends up isolating itself from critical national and international fuel markets.”

According to reports, NESCAUM officials have asked each state’s governor to sign the MOU by December 31, 2009. In anticipation of that deadline, CEA last week sent each of the 11 governors participating in the NESCAUM effort a letter outlining several key considerations related to an LCFS – from the logistics involved in converting hundreds of thousands of vehicles to flex-fuel capable, to the realities inherent in the fact that 80 percent of transportation sector carbon emissions comes from the combustion of fuel, not the lifecycle components an LCFS will supposedly address.

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