President Joe Biden’s administration announced a new series of highway emissions regulations last week while Americans were traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The new rule, established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), requires state and local transportation agencies to create greenhouse gas reduction targets to be used for federal-funded road projects.
Announcing the finalized rule, FHWA explained that the agency is taking two major steps to address the “impacts of climate change” through the president’s “whole-of-government approach” to reduce carbon pollution by 50% before 2030.
First, the FHWA said the rule adds a new measure of greenhouse gas performance management to the agency’s national performance measures to create a “national framework” in order to help individual states “track performance” while making “informed investment decisions.” The FHWA also said the new rule would establish a “flexible system” for state Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organization agencies to set individual targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Every state has its own unique climate challenges, and every state ought to have the data, funding, and flexibility it needs to meet those challenges head on,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This new performance measure will provide states with a clear and consistent framework to track carbon pollution and the flexibility to set their own climate targets—which we will also help them meet with more than $27 billion in federal funding through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.”
While Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt claimed that the new performance measure will not “impose penalties” on states and local agencies that fail to achieve their greenhouse gas emission targets, critics of the Biden administration’s new rule have argued that the policy is an attempt by the federal government to use its funding to force state and local governments to adopt certain climate policies.
“Federal overreach to advance a misguided climate agenda has become a staple of the Biden administration,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.VA.) told the Daily Caller. “The final rule, which imposes the performance measure and the requirement to set greenhouse gas targets on state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), is just one more example of these harmful regulations.”
The West Virginia senator explained that emission reduction requirements similar to the new rule established by the FHWA were intentionally left out of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that was passed in 2021.
“Without the authority to impose this mandate, the FHWA is ignoring the letter of the law to finalize a rule that hampers the ability of state DOTs and MPOs to address the transportation needs of their constituents,” Capito said.
American Road and Transportation Builders Association CEO Dave Bauer argued in a statement that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law “would not have been bipartisan” if it had included requirements that forced states to address global climate change. Bauer suggested that states should prioritize transportation safety and mobility improvements with the funding provided by the bill, not addressing climate issues.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) described the new rule as “fundamentally unworkable” in rural states throughout the country. He added, “I look forward to leading a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval overturning it.”
Dan Kish, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller that the timing of the Biden administration’s announcement of the new rule was “not surprising.”
“It’s not surprising the Biden administration had Mayor Pete drop this regulation just as many Americans were fighting traffic to be with family on Thanksgiving on roads he won’t fix because he’s squandering gas tax money on bike lanes and climate nonsense. They don’t let the law get in the way of them imposing new edicts on Americans.”