21 States Sue Biden Admin Over Highway Emissions Rule

21 States Sue Biden Admin Over Highway Emissions Rule

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The lawsuit argues that the U.S. Department of Transportation lacks the authority from Congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed another lawsuit against the Biden administration for federal overreach on Dec. 21.

Filing with the attorneys general from 20 other states, the lawsuit challenges President Joe Biden’s new rule requiring all states with the National Highway System to set “arbitrary emission targets” as part of the administration’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The rule was published on Dec. 7 by the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and is expected to go into effect on Jan. 8, 2024.

The attorney general’s office said, “This rule forces states to spend an inordinate amount of time, resources, and money with no clear guidance for what success looks like,” and the complaint argued that the DOT lacks the authority from congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“‘The Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program,’” the complaint states, quoting the Constitution, “[because] ‘the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.’”

The rule follows one of President Biden’s first executive orders, No. 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” which directed all agencies to review and revise their existing regulations, holding each state responsible for spending resources to track its progress toward those goals and report that progress to the federal government.

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“As if Biden’s unfounded and reckless energy policies haven’t devastated our economy enough, this new, foolhardy edict from the U.S. Department of Transportation will create even more financial hardships for our state and Floridians,” Ms. Moody said in a press release. “We’re taking action today to ensure that this misguided new-emissions rule does not stand.”

Ms. Moody acted with the support of both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, who said that his department’s concerns about the rule have never been given complete answers and he sees the rule as a means to push the federal government’s “Green New Deal” agenda.

This is the second time Ms. Moody has spoken out against this rule, having already filed comments against its proposal with 19 other states in October 2022.

“Florida will not sit idly by while the Biden Administration tries to force the Green New Deal into existence through the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Mr. DeSantis. “Florida will always fight for freedom and against the federal government’s unlawful efforts to control the American people.”

The other 20 states challenging the rule are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The lawsuit is also the second confrontation Ms. Moody has had with the Biden administration and the DOT in 2023.

On Oct. 4, she filed suit when the administration threatened to withhold more than $800 million in federal transportation funding if the state did not abandon the labor reforms of SB 256.

That bill “enables public workers, like teachers, to make more informed and deliberate decisions on whether to join a union and prohibits unions from forcing due withdrawals directly from employees’ paychecks,” according to the attorney general’s office.

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