Nine States Sue Trump Administration for Blocking Climate Progress at U.S. DOT

How much is that highway broiling the planet? The Trump administration doesn't want people to find out. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
How much is that highway broiling the planet? The Trump administration doesn't want people to find out. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

One of the biggest reforms of federal transportation policy in recent memory came this January, when U.S. DOT issued a rule requiring state DOTs to measure the impact of their projects on greenhouse gas emissions. With transportation now accounting for more carbon pollution in America than electricity, the rule injects much-needed transparency and accountability into transportation policy and the tens of billions of dollars that state DOTs spend each year.

But with the Trump administration looking to undo as much of the Obama legacy as possible, in July U.S. DOT announced it would “indefinitely delay” the rule. The thing is, federal rules don’t work like that. Presidents don’t get to pick and choose which ones they comply with.

So in August, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit against the Trump Administration to force compliance.

Now, the NRDC’s Amanda Eaken at the Natural Resources Defense Council writes that nine states have filed a parallel lawsuit to compel the administration to uphold the law:

The full list of plaintiffs includes California, the California Air Resources Board, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota by and through Minnesota DOT, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

The states in the case seek a declaration that the Trump Administration’s delay and suspension of the GHG Measure without notice and comment violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and an injunction ordering defendants to end the suspension of the GHG Measure.

These states are filing this litigation because they are seeking to protect their interests in protecting their citizens’ health and welfare, and in safeguarding their citizens from the adverse effects of climate change.

The government’s response to the states’ complaint will be due in late November.

More recommended reading today: Urban Review STL says St. Louis has yet to adopt NACTO’s best practice for bus stops: sidewalk expansions, called “bus bulbs,” that let buses remain in the travel lane instead of merging in and out of traffic. And Bike Delaware reports that a precedent-setting package of bike safety laws is on its way to the governor’s desk and should become law on October 5.

  • TakeFive

    Perfect example of the legal lobby regulation welfare. I know they’re Big Dem donors but when do we stop the nanny state nonsense.

    Not a Republican and not looking to become one but I do believe that states should be allowed to be responsible for themselves and decide what is best.

  • DenverMike89

    Unfortunately, the environment does not stop at state borders. If one state pollutes, all states suffer. This is the perfect example of when the federal government needs to step in.

  • TakeFive

    Being concerned about the environment then I assume you are also aware of the ‘arms’ race by the biggest and best manufacturers to move to all-electric and hybrid vehicles. Additionally, Mazda supposedly has new tech that eliminates the spark plug.

    On what basis then, do you determine greenhouse gas emissions? These these studies will be obsolete before they’re done? It’s a silly exercise in pointless futility. Time, money, delay and more delay. No wonder our economy struggles to be productive.

  • Joe R.

    Electric is wonderful, hybrid still pollutes. From what I’ve read, the manufacturers want to make mostly hybrids, with some token electrics thrown in. It should really be the other way around if they care about pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

    Ideology, both Right and Left is killing us.

    I won’t disagree with you there. I’ll even go so far as to say I think the focus on greenhouse gases is hurting the move towards cleaner energy. While I believe the science (and most thinking people do), it’s hard to get people to focus on solving a problem whose worst effects likely won’t appear in their lifetime. Instead, we should have focused solely on the well-known harmful effects of pollution. Cancer and asthma rates are out of control. Everyone knows people who have died from cancer. There are many links between cancer and air pollution. Also, air pollution from lots of vehicles affects quality of life in other ways (smog, odor, grime on structures, acid rain, etc.). These are affecting everyone right now. I think if the focus had been solely on air pollution we would have all electric vehicles now.

  • TakeFive

    Well stated

    I go back to when “environment” was a newly coined word and there was no EPA. We have come a long way… not that challenges don’t still exist. Still, I have less and less affection for the growing nanny state.

    When the Great Recession (ARRA) funding bill was signed by Pres Obama on Feb 17, 2009 it was magical. It led to Red states Kansas and Oklahoma competing for wind energy by offering their own state incentives on top of the Federal incentives. Texas btw is the #1 state for wind energy. Incentivise the private sector, then stay out of their way and watch magic happen.

  • So we should give up and not study at all. That’s the argument?

    Just because there might be a transition in technology does not mean we should not consider GHG emissions when we build infrastructure.

  • Vooch

    the easiest solution ( and one to warm the heart of big money donors ) is to fully privatize the interstates. fully privatize means sell the title and land.

    This would eliminate subsidies for much of mass motoring.

    VMT would drop by 1/2. Net result would be a 25% decrease in GHG.

    and the Repubs would be forced to argue against the free market.

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