Lawsuit Forces FHWA to Reinstate Transportation Greenhouse Gas Rule

Legal challenge trumps Trump Administration notices suspending standards for reducing transportation-sector greenhouse gas emissions until FHWA can issue a new rulemaking

The Federal Highway Administration responded to a lawsuit brought by environmental groups by reinstating a federal requirement that state and local planners track and curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks on the national highways, which is a major contributor to climate change.

The Highway Administration issued a final greenhouse gas standard on January 18, 2017. The standard required the roughly 400 state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations to track the annual number of tons of carbon dioxide emitted from on-road vehicles traveling on the national highway system. They also must set two- and/or four-year emissions-reduction targets, with the first targets to be submitted to the Highway Administration by February 20, 2018, and periodically report on their progress.

The Trump Administration issued notices indefinitely suspending implementation of the standard on May 19.

On July 31st, the Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. PIRG, and the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Clean Air Carolina, sued the FHWA for illegally suspending the federal transportation greenhouse gas rule.

In its notice, FHWA also signaled its intent to start new rulemaking this year to be finalized in the spring of 2018.  Under this rulemaking, FHWA seeks to repeal the greenhouse gas rule through proper, legal procedures.

The transportation sector accounted for 36.4% of all U.S. carbon emissions in 2016 – more greenhouse gas pollution than the entire economy of any other nation on earth except China, India and Russia.

(more on FHWA greenhouse gas rule . . . )