Federal Highway Administration Loses Climate Change Rule

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was preparing to announce new greenhouse gas rules for trucks, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was fighting a court challenge to its proposed rule that would have required state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations to establish their own emissions rules – as if there aren’t enough federal and state agencies seeking authority over truck and automobile pollution. However, a federal court in Texas struck down the FHWA regulation - ironically, the same day – March 29, 2024 – when EPA announced its own final rule.

This  was FHWA’s second attempt to expand its jurisdiction from building and maintaining highways and bridges to controlling the emissions of highway users. An attempt started during the Obama administration was set aside by the Trump administration.  In both attempts FHWA  said its authority  came from federal law that directs the agency to establish a national highway “performance” program. Each time others have pointed out that there is nothing in federal law that suggests such a highway “performance” program is related to environmental issues.

The federal judge in Texas provided an eloquent civics lesson to any overreaching regulatory agency: “If the people, through Congress, believe that states should spend the time and money necessary to measure and report [greenhouse gas] emissions and set declining emission targets, they may do so by amending [the existing federal law section] or passing a new law. But an agency cannot make this decision for the people. An agency can only do what the people authorize it to do….”

U.S. Senators Seek to Overturn EPA Truck Emissions Rule

08 May 2024

The trucking industry has universally opposed the EPA Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) regulations because the technology is not ready for prime time and the rule is oblivious to the realities of freight transportation.