Attorney General Knudsen files lawsuit against Biden “net-zero” highway emissions rule

Attorney General Knudsen files lawsuit against Biden “net-zero” highway emissions rule

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen today filed a lawsuit challenging an unlawful Biden administration greenhouse gas emissions rule that would require states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on its roadways to help achieve President Biden’s economy-wide goal of having “net-zero” emissions by 2050. The lawsuit is the 36th that Attorney General Knudsen has filed against the Biden administration.

The “National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measure,” which was promulgated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates states with National Highway System mileage to set declining targets for on-road CO2 emissions reduction – a mandate the agencies lack the authority to impose.

“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,” Attorney General 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.”

The rule will disproportionately harm states with more rural areas. According to federal data, the average Montana driver drove 14,640 miles in 2020, 2.5 times more than the average driver in Washington, DC.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials blasted the rule when it was proposed, saying the “targets are not broadly attainable and ignore the unique scenarios of each state.” States like Montana that are both rural and growing in population would “likely have the largest challenge of all” in implementing the rule.

The ideas the agencies provided for states to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the rule are impractical for rural states and would require Montanans to additional fees. These include congestion pricing, road pricing, ramp metering, increased coordination with transit and non-motorized improvements, paying fees to scrap low mileage heavy duty vehicles.

Additionally, and as acknowledged by the defendant agencies in the rule, the rule would make continued economic growth more challenging and require state transportation departments to expend significant resources to set the targets and report the data to the federal government.

The final rule is unlawful because it was promulgated in excess of the agencies’ statutory authority, violates the Constitution by usurping the role of the Legislature and of the States, and is arbitrary and capricious. The lawsuit calls for the court to vacate the rule in its entirety and prohibit its enforcement.

Click here to read the lawsuit.

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