Biden’s climate rule struck down by Texas judge: ‘Unauthorized’

A U.S. judge ruled in favor of Texas and declared a Biden administration policy on a climate rule was, in fact, “unauthorized.”

The rule, issued in December by the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), “requires states to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and to establish declining carbon dioxide targets and report on progress toward achieving those targets,” according to Reuters.

In December, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the “new performance measure will provide states with a clear and consistent framework to track carbon pollution and the flexibility to set their own climate targets.”

In response, Texas sued the DOT and a separate lawsuit was filed by 21 other states.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix ruled against the Biden administration, agreeing with Texas that “the rule was unauthorized.”

“A federal administrative agency cannot act without congressional authorization,” the judge, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said in the ruling. “The Court concludes that the rule was unauthorized.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office issued a press release in December contending that the DOT “does not have the statutory authority to institute such a rule, and the mandate violates the Administrative Procedure Act.”

“Further, the rule is arbitrary and capricious and violates the Spending Clause by impermissibly restricting the use of federal funds by requiring TxDOT to implement the greenhouse gas measure,” the release said.

“This is yet another example of the Biden Administration sidestepping the Constitution to make sweeping, destructive policies without authorization,” Paxton said in a statement. “When Biden unleashes unlawful climate mandates that hurt our country, Texas is here to stop him.”

“The FHWA said the rule was ‘essential’ to the Biden administration target of net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050, but the final regulation did not require states to set declining targets to align with the 2050 goal,” Reuters reported.

The agency also reportedly said it “did not mandate how low targets must be” and “noted the rule did not impose penalties for those who missed their targets.”

“The Final Rule imposes no consequences for a state’s failure to meet emissions targets, so meeting those targets is not a condition on funding at all,” the federal government had responded to the Texas lawsuit.

But Paxton disagreed, warning how Texas and other oil-producing states would be placed at a disadvantage by such a rule which the DOT ultimately did not have the authority to impose.

“For Texas, to achieve declining targets year over year would require substantial changes to how the citizens of Texas use the Interstate and National Highway System and would drastically impact the economy because Texas has major national and international ports and distribution centers,” the Texas lawsuit against the Biden administration had read.

Texas is also part of a separate lawsuit against the Biden administration over another climate issue.

Along with Louisiana and fourteen other states, Texas filed a lawsuit this month “to block the Biden Administration’s unlawful and indefinite ban on approving applications to export liquified natural gas (“LNG”) that the Department of Energy itself has already acknowledged has ‘no factual or legal basis,'” according to a press release.

“Biden’s unilateral decree disregards statutory mandates, flouts the legal process, upends the oil and gas industry, disrupts the Texas economy, and subverts our constitutional structure,” Paxton said in a statement. “The ban will drive billions of dollars in investment away from Texas, hinder our ability to maximize revenue for public schools, force Texas producers to flare excess natural gas instead of taking it to market, and annihilate critical jobs. I will not stand by while Biden attacks Texas.”

Frieda Powers


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