October 13, 2022
Today Attorney General Reyes joined a 20-state coalition in filing comments before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to push back against a Department of Transportation rule requiring all fifty states and Puerto Rico to reduce on-road CO2 emissions to net-zero by 2050. The coalition of attorneys general argues that Congress has not given the DOT authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
In the comments to DOT, the coalition expressed concerns that DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) overstepped its legal authority by proposing this measure. 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.”
Reyes and the attorneys general also make clear that the proposed measure violates the principles of federalism by requiring states to implement a federal regulatory program. The attorneys general note that the Supreme Court has said that “‘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.’”
Further, the attorneys general note that FHWA issued a similar rule, which was repealed after the agency determined that the measure may duplicate “existing efforts in some States” and imposed “unnecessary burdens on State DOTs and MPOs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 organization] that were not contemplated by Congress.”
Attorney General Reyes joined the Kentucky-led comments along with the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Read the coalition’s comments here.