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Biden’s Highway Climate Mandate Struck Down by Judge: ‘The Rule Was Unauthorized’

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Biden administration

A US judge ruled against a Biden administration highway climate rule that required states to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles using US highways, and to set declining carbon dioxide targets. The December 2023 rule by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration was challenged in a lawsuit by Texas.

Carbon pollution

The rule “will provide states with a clear and consistent framework to track carbon pollution and the flexibility to set their own climate targets,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. The judge, a Trump appointee, decided the DOT did not have authority to institute the rule, which Texas argued also violated the Administrative Procedure Act and restricted use of federal funds.

Separately sued

Texas has separately sued the Biden administration over other climate-related policies, including a pause of liquefied natural gas export terminal projects being challenged by 16 Republican states.

Texas Attorney General

The Texas Attorney General criticized these actions as disregarding legal processes, disrupting state economies, and subverting the constitutional structure.

Ken Paxton

The DOT “does not have the statutory authority to institute such a rule, and the mandate violates the Administrative Procedure Act,” Texas AG Ken Paxton said.

Spending Clause

“Further, the rule is arbitrary and capricious and violates the Spending Clause by impermissibly restricting the use of federal funds by requiring TxDOT to implement the greenhouse gas measure.”

Statutory mandates

“Biden’s unilateral decree disregards statutory mandates, flouts the legal process, upends the oil and gas industry, disrupts the Texas economy, and subverts our constitutional structure,” Paxton said.

Climate change

In recent years, climate change has become an increasingly urgent issue. One of President Biden’s first actions upon taking office was to recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement, an international treaty aimed at limiting global warming and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By rejoining the agreement, the Biden administration signaled its intent to work closely with other nations to address the climate crisis on a global scale.

Executive orders

President Biden wasted no time in issuing a series of executive orders focused on tackling climate change. These executive actions included directives to pause new oil and gas leases on public lands, establish a working group to promote environmental justice, and set a goal of conserving at least 30% of US lands and waters by 2030. Additionally, Biden’s infrastructure plan includes significant investments in clean energy and electric vehicle infrastructure, with the aim of creating millions of jobs in the clean energy sector.

Climate agenda

One of the cornerstones of President Biden’s climate agenda is the promotion of clean energy. The administration has proposed significant investments in renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, as well as the development of new technologies to reduce carbon emissions. These investments are not only intended to combat climate change but also to create new job opportunities and stimulate economic growth in the clean energy sector.

Environmental impacts

In addition to addressing the environmental impacts of climate change, the Biden administration has placed a strong emphasis on environmental justice. This includes efforts to address the disproportionate impact of pollution and climate change on marginalized communities, as well as initiatives to promote equity and inclusivity in environmental policy and decision-making.

Climate crisis

Recognizing the global nature of the climate crisis, President Biden has worked to reestablish the United States as a leader in international efforts to combat climate change. This includes engaging in diplomatic efforts to encourage other countries to set ambitious climate goals and working with international partners to promote clean energy and sustainable development.

Controversial steps

President Joe Biden’s administration has taken controversial steps to confront the challenges posed by climate change. By recommitting the United States to the Paris Agreement, implementing ambitious climate action plans, and prioritizing investments in clean energy and environmental justice, the administration has demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing the urgent threat of climate change.

Road ahead

While the road ahead is undoubtedly challenging, these efforts represent an important step towards building a more sustainable and resilient future for the United States and the world at large.

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