NEW YORK — New York state’s attorney general announced Friday that she will allow a class-action lawsuit to proceed on the state’s legal use of the term “biofuel.”
The ruling by New York’s top law enforcement official could further strain relations between New York and neighboring states that have sued New York to block its use of biofuels.
The New York lawsuit claims that the use of those terms, as well as those of other chemicals that are also commonly used to make biofuel, infringes on their rights under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act.
The state has said it wants to use biofuellas as a substitute for gasoline.
It’s the first state to use such a strategy, which requires the EPA to approve the use and set a target to limit emissions.
But state Sen. Richard Gottfried (R-Staten Island) and other lawmakers say the use is misleading and dangerous.
The state could be using biofuelling as a political tool, they said.
The legal challenge against the state is the latest blow to the industry as New York is facing a surge in demand for its products as the state grapples with a rising cost of air pollution and rising unemployment.
New York officials say the new products could save $1 billion in 2020 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent compared to 2020 levels.
In court papers filed this week, Gottfried and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman argue that the term biofueling is misleading because it doesn’t accurately describe the products’ emissions.
Schneiderman has said that the EPA should not approve biofuelleas because the products use so much petroleum.
He said that when he spoke with state lawmakers in the last few weeks, they “had not been consulted on the matter.”