Texas Court Deals Blow To Biden’s Climate Agenda

(IntegrityTimes.com) – Wednesday March 27, U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix found in favor of the state of Texas on the issue of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new rule that would require states to measure and set declining targets for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles using the national highway system. A similar lawsuit against the DOT has been filed by a group of 21 other states.

When the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, announced the new rules in December, he claimed that states would be given the framework necessary to track carbon pollution and that they would be able to formulate their own climate goals within that system. DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also emphasized that the new rules would be vital to achieving the Biden administration’s goal of net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.

In reply to the FHWA’s announcement, the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a public statement challenging the DOT’s authority to institute any such rules and argued that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. However, the FHWA says that the rule does not have any restrictions on how low the targets need to be, and furthermore doesn’t levy any penalties for states that miss their own chosen targets.

Texas Attorney General Paxton has argued that the rules are “arbitrary and capricious”, and the DOT simply does not have the legal authority to implement them. In addition to the Administrative Procedure Act, the DOT’s rule could also violate the Spending Clause in restricting use of Federal funds by tying the spending to the DOT’s requirements.

The Biden administration is also embroiled in another climate-related lawsuit with the state of Texas, as part of a filing by 16 Republican states against the Department of Energy (DOE)’s halting of major liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal projects. Texas Attorney General Paxton has publicly criticized the pause as a “unilateral decree” that disrupts the economy of Texas by completely upending the oil and gas industry. He also says it flouts the legal process and subverts the nation’s constitutional structure.

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