Biden Admin Sued Over Rule That Mandates Emissions Standards For States
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 20: U.S. President Joe Biden returns to the White House December 20, 2023 in Washington, DC. President Biden traveled to Milwaukee and gave remarks at the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce earlier in the day.
Credit: Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Twenty-one states, led by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, are challenging a new rule from the Biden administration that would mandate that states create emission standards and report back to the federal government on their progress. 

The rule from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would mandate that state departments of transportation come up with goals to reduce CO2 emissions. The Republican attorneys general say that rule is unconstitutional and would harm rural areas where more driving is necessary. 

“President Biden is unconstitutionally ramming his radical climate agenda through administrative agencies that lack Congressional authority to implement such actions,” Cameron said. “We will not stand by while this administration attempts to circumvent the legislative process.”

The rule, which is set to go into effect on January 8, “requires State departments of transportation (State DOT) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to establish declining carbon dioxide (CO2) targets for the GHG measure and report on progress toward the achievement of those targets. The rule does not mandate how low targets must be.”

The FHWA will also be empowered to “assess whether State DOTs have made significant progress toward achieving their targets.”

A  joint complaint was filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky by Cameron and the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“Congress has not given FHWA or DOT authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” the complaint says. “Nor can the Agencies compel the States to administer a federal regulatory program or mandate them to further Executive policy wishes absent some other authority to do so — which is lacking as to this rule.”


The complaint challenges President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the FHWA, and FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. It says that the rule is unconstitutional and violates the principles of federalism. 

Montana AG Austin Knudsen said the rule was another aspect of the Biden administration’s attempt to implement a “radical green agenda.”

“This rule is another unlawful and overreaching regulation by the Biden Administration to force the President’s radical green agenda onto Americans regardless of the costs,” Montana AG Austin Knudsen said. “This one-size-fits-all approach might work for the Washington, DC bureaucrats who cooked it up, but it won’t work for Montana.”

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