Republicans blast Biden’s rule to cut transportation emissions

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The Biden administration wants states to track and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from highways, a move that Republicans say defeats congressional intent and should be reversed.

The Federal Highway Administration on Thursday announced a new proposed rule that would require state transportation departments and metropolitan areas to set their own goals and report progress. The Infrastructure Act (Public Law 117-58) provides $27 billion to help achieve these goals, the department said. GOP lawmakers say Congress never gave the department the power to impose performance measures.

“Unfortunately, this action follows a common theme for both the DOT and the administration, which implements the partisan policy priorities they would like to see included,” said Distinguished Member Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

The criticism follows Republican backlash after the FHWA issued guidelines encouraging the use of infrastructure funds to repair freeways before expanding existing roads. Sen. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.) said that in both cases, Congress “specifically excluded these authorities” in the infrastructure law.

“This proposed rule must be rescinded entirely,” said Cramer, the top Republican on the environment and public works panel’s transportation subcommittee. “It’s a stupid policy.”

The proposed rule, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register next week, would give “states the flexibility they need to set their own emissions reduction goals,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. The department said 24 states and Washington, DC are already setting goals.

Climate groups hailed the rule, calling it a step in the right direction to help reduce transport emissions. The sector generates the largest share of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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