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Texas Court Rules Against Biden’s Vehicle Emissions Mandate

Texas Court Rules Against Biden’s Vehicle Emissions Mandate

Mar 29, 2024

Texas Court Rules Against Biden’s Vehicle Emissions Mandate

A federal judge in Texas has invalidated a Biden administration mandate that required states to track and report greenhouse gas emissions linked to the national highway system. The ruling by Judge James Hendrix of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on March 28, 2023, determined that the administration lacked the legal authority to impose the emissions measurement rule.

The rule, which was implemented by the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2023, sought to compel state transportation departments and metropolitan planning organizations to both quantify their transportation-related emissions and establish their own targets for reducing those emissions. Additionally, the rule mandated biennial progress reports and allowed the FHWA to evaluate state efforts toward achieving the set targets.

Texas filed a lawsuit against the DOT in December, contending that the agency overstepped its legal boundaries as defined by Congress and that the rule contravened the Administrative Procedure Act. Judge Hendrix, appointed under President Trump, agreed with this position stating, "When a regulation attempts to override statutory text, the regulation loses every time." He further noted that the DOT's rule attempted to bypass a clear limitation in Section 150(c)(3) which pertains to performance measures for the physical condition and efficiency of the interstate and national highway systems.

Republicans have lauded the court's decision. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, released a joint statement calling the rule a "blatant overreach by the Biden Administration" and praised the court for confirming that "a federal administrative agency cannot act without congressional authorization."

In contrast, when the rule was initially finalized in December of the previous year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended it as offering states a "clear and consistent framework to track carbon pollution" while providing them autonomy to set climate goals. The administration cited transportation as the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Following Judge Hendrix's ruling, a spokesperson for the FHWA indicated that the agency is reviewing the decision and considering its options. The spokesperson reiterated the Biden administration's commitment to addressing climate change.

Meanwhile, a separate but related lawsuit was filed in Kentucky in December by 21 other states challenging the same emissions rule. That case remains unresolved.

Originally reported by The Epoch Times


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