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Kentucky Attorney General Cameron Leads 20-State Coalition Opposing Biden Administration Rule Requiring States to Reach Net-Zero Highway Emissions

Daniel Cameron 2021

Attorney General Daniel Cameron

FRANKFORT, KY (October 13, 2022) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today led a 20-state coalition in filing comments before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to push back against a Biden Administration proposed rule requiring all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to reduce on-road CO2 emissions to net-zero by 2050.

The attorneys general argue that Congress has not given DOT the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

"Having failed to pass climate change legislation, President Biden is now unconstitutionally pushing his green priorities through administrative agencies that lack Congressional authority to implement these changes," said Attorney General Cameron. "We will not stand by while this administration attempts to circumvent the legislative process."

In the comments filed today with the DOT, Attorney General Cameron and the coalition expressed concerns that DOT's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) overstepped its legal authority. The coalition writes, "Given the Supreme Court recently made clear in West Virginia v. EPA that even the EPA cannot use its existing authority to take unprecedented and unauthorized actions to address climate change, such action is clearly beyond the authority Congress has given FHWA."

They also make clear that the proposed measure violates the principles of federalism by requiring states to implement a federal regulatory program. They write, "This is because 'the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.' Therefore, even if Congress believed that the GHG measure was the best means of reducing CO2 in order to address climate change, the States could not be directed to implement the policy choices of the federal government."

Further, the attorneys general note that FHWA previously issued a similar rule, which was repealed after the agency determined that the measure may duplicate "existing efforts in some States" and imposed "unnecessary burdens on State DOTs and MPOs [metropolitan planning organizations] that were not contemplated by Congress."

Attorney General Cameron led a coalition of attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming in filing comments to the DOT.

Read the coalition's comments here.

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