California Joins Seven Other States in Lawsuit Over Clean Transportation Rules
Eight states filed a lawsuit this week challenging the Trump administration decision to suspend a rule that requires transportation projects to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions produced.
The lawsuit, similar to one filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) this summer, argues that the rule suspension violated the law by failing to provide notice and opportunity to comment on the suspension before it took place. The rule was scheduled to take effect in February, but the administration delayed it twice before suspending it indefinitely in May.
The Greenhouse Gas Measure was promulgated under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act and would require state departments of transportation to benchmark and measure on-road greenhouse gas emissions within their jurisdictions, and set locally appropriate targets for GHG emissions reductions on national highways. MAP-21 requires the Federal Highway Administration to set goals in several performance areas to ensure the most efficient use of federal funds. The goal of the measure is to incentivize use of transportation strategies—such as bus rapid transit and commuter rail—that would reduce GHG emissions.
That’s because having to measure and report on GHG emissions would show how much more harm highway widening projects bring in terms of real health impacts than other transportation investments such as transit. Eakin continues:
Transportation is the leading source of carbon pollution in the United States and limiting pollution from our transportation system is a cornerstone of making our air cleaner, improving health for all Americans, and fighting climate change. The simple but profound premise behind our original advocacy to secure a national GHG performance measure is that transportation plans must be more accountable for performance outcomes, including carbon pollution. This premise was at the center of the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Law (SB 375) California passed in 2008, which has led to substantial health, safety and climate benefits for communities across the state.
The states participating in the suit are California, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.