Senate Passes Resolution Nullifying Biden’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule
Senate Passes Resolution Nullifying Biden’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule

By Stephen Katte

The U.S. Senate has passed a disapproval resolution overturning a regulation from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requiring states to measure and set goals for reducing carbon emissions from vehicles using the national highway system.

The FHWA issued Reg. 2125-AF99 in November 2023 as part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to slash carbon emissions in half by 2030. It would force state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations to measure their transportation-related emissions and set reduction targets.

Multiple states have sued over the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule, arguing it could dampen job creation, eliminate future economic development, saddle states with costly regulations, and is ultimately an overreach from the executive branch.

Initially introduced in February by Sens. Kevin Cramer, (R-N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the resolution overriding Reg. 2125-AF99 passed the Senate 53-47 through an April 10 vote.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) also joined the effort.

“Few things are more frustrating in government than unelected bureaucrats asserting authority they don’t have and foisting federal mediocrity on the excellence of states,” Mr. Cramer said during his floor remarks after the vote.

“The Senate will take up my bipartisan resolution that overturns the Biden administration’s obviously illegal rule that requires state departments of transportation to measure CO2 tailpipe emissions then set declining targets for vehicles traveling on the highway systems of their respective states.”

Truckers Support Scrapping Emissions Rule

The largest national trade association for the trucking industry, the American Trucking Association (ATA), applauded the disapproval resolution passing the Senate in an April 10 media release.

According to ATA Chief Advocacy and Public Affairs Officer Ed Gilroy, the FHWA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule lacks any statutory basis and would lead to the delay or cancellation of some infrastructure projects.

He also called it a flagrant example of executive overreach, arguing that it adds unnecessary bureaucracy to relatively straightforward processes.

“States are best equipped to determine their transportation needs, but this rule would create unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to access federal funds and scramble local priorities,” he said.

“Ultimately, this heavy-handed approach would undermine highway expansion projects, leading to greater traffic congestion and higher shipping costs that contribute to inflation.”

In recent weeks, two federal judges have also ruled against the FHWA’s regulation. In late March, a Texas judge found that the rule exceeded the FHWA’s statutory authority and issued a nationwide injunction.

Last week, another judge in Kentucky similarly concluded that the FHWA’s regulation was an executive overreach. However, Judge Benjamin Beaton only blocked the gas emissions rule in the 21 plaintiff’s states, not nationwide. He also asked the plaintiffs to file supplemental briefs “on the proper remedy” within three weeks in light of potentially conflicting requirements from other courts.

White House Not Backing Down

White House in Washington on Feb. 15, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

In a statement ahead of the vote, the White House said President Biden would veto the result if it passes. According to the White House, it “would remove ”a common-sense, good-government tool for transparently managing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and informing transportation investment decisions.

An FHWA spokesperson also issued a media statement discussing its intention to possibly keep fighting for Reg. 2125-AF99, despite the stiff opposition and court rulings blocking its implementation.

“The Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration remain committed to supporting the Biden-Harris administration’s climate goals of cutting carbon pollution in half by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050,” the spokesperson said.

“We are reviewing the court’s decision and determining next steps.”

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