Judicial Watch: Groups Say Reinstate Clean Transportation Rule
North Carolina citizens are stepping up to lead the fight to clean up climate pollution from our nation’s transportation system.
Charlotte-based citizen advocacy group Clean Air Carolina has joined two national environmental groups in asking the federal courts to reinstate an important clean air rule related to transportation project impacts. June Blotnick of Clean Air Carolina said, “In the southeast, groups like ours have long battled poor air quality and soaring greenhouse gas emissions. The [suspended rule] was meant to usher in smarter 21st Century transportation options for our communities. It will help put us on the right road to protect our children, and all future generations, from dangerous climate change and unhealthy air.”
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit assert that the suspended rule would lead states and communities “to provide smarter, cleaner transportation options, including public transportation, carpooling, vanpooling, and safer streets for walking and biking.” Clean Air Carolina (CAC) is represented in the lawsuit by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), and joins the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) as plaintiffs in the action.
The currently suspended rule requires state transportation departments (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to annually track the estimated tons of carbon dioxide pollution emitted by on-road vehicles on highways in their jurisdiction. The states and MPOs are required to set emission reduction targets, beginning in 2018. This effort will be a key part of any effective carbon dioxide emissions control effort in the United States, because transportation-related emissions make up more than a third of our total national emissions. Our transportation-related emissions alone in the U.S. amount to more than the total national emissions of any other nation on earth but three (China, India, Russia).
The rule was developed with extensive public input and support under the Obama Administration, and finalized by the Federal Highway Administration on January 18, 2017, just two days before Trump took office. His administration promptly suspended it, without any further public process. The lawsuit seeks immediate reinstatement of the rule, asserting that it cannot be stopped or suspended by the new administration without going back through the public comment and review process.