Advocates Score a Win for Climate Realism at U.S. DOT

The agencies that build this kind of infrastructure will have to account for its impact on the climate. Photo: USGS via Creative Commons
The agencies that build this kind of infrastructure will have to account for its impact on the climate. Photo: USGS via Creative Commons

Since Donald Trump took office eight long months ago, his administration has been trying to wipe out any mention of climate change across various agencies.

But advocates have been fighting back, and this week they won a victory at the U.S. Department of Transportation, fending off a White House attack on an Obama-era rule aimed at documenting and forecasting the impact of state transportation policies on carbon emissions.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and nine states sued to stop the Trump administration from negating the rule. In an admission that the agency overstepped its authority, U.S. DOT now says it will comply with the carbon rule. That means state transportation departments still have to assess their carbon impacts, with the first report due in October 2018. Thanks, Obama!

Amanda Eaken and Deron Lovaas at NRDC are celebrating the win, but they aren’t about to get complacent. They expect the administration will attempt to rewrite the rule and remove the carbon emissions reporting requirement. That won’t happen overnight, however, and advocates will have opportunities to contest the Trump administration during the process, Eaken told Streetsblog:

Any attempts at repeal would have to go through the full rulemaking process, which takes months and includes a robust opportunity for public comment. We plan to play a major part in that rulemaking and will vigorously oppose any efforts to permanently repeal the measure.

More recommended reading today: City Observatory makes the case that yes, actually, peak-hour congestion pricing is equitable. And Robin Mazumder posts an essay on why urbanism should be “intersectional” and what that means to him.

  • TakeFive

    Hardly a surprise. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Republicans rewrite this and stick it into tax cuts as part of an expense reducing measure.

  • Michael J. Erickson

    It is about time that C02 tailpipe emission reduction and climate change impacts are calculated for transportation project selection purposes. A perfect gasoline burn always has C02 and water as the product…this is the Achilles heel of cars and DOTs. DOTs should build bicycle highways and pedways — the ICE is in the wane (double entendre intended).

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