After illegal administration moves, agency to reinstate rule to cut car and truck carbon pollution

Many coastal roads like Highway 12 along North Carolina's Outer Banks, shown here in 2012, are already dealing with the impacts of stronger hurricanes. (© Don McCullough)

SELC is celebrating a major victory after the Trump administration announced today that it will reinstate a federal provision designed to curb climate change pollution from cars and trucks. This welcome move comes after SELC and NRDC filed suit in federal court to challenge the administration’s illegal suspension of the provision.  SELC is representing Clean Air Carolina in the suit, while NRDC is representing itself and U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG.

The transportation sector is now the largest source of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) pollution in the United States. The reinstated rule will require states and metropolitan areas to measure GHG emissions associated with National Highway System segments within their jurisdiction and to set targets to reduce these emissions over time.   They face a first compliance deadline of October 2018.

“The Trump administration appears to be finally learning that it cannot ax regulations willy-nilly without following proper legal procedures” said SELC attorney Kym Hunter. “In the United States, we have established protections that ensure thoughtful, transparent decision-making. We hope that going forward we can convince this administration to leave the rule in place for the long term. Most importantly, we believe that the Trump administration is beginning to learn that its reckless disregard of the law will not be tolerated.”

“The signs of a changing climate are already upon us,” said Trip Pollard, leader of SELC’s Land and Community Program. “The increasingly intense storms pounding the Southeast coast are just one dramatic sign of what is to come. This rule will provide an important tool to help combat GHG emissions and plan for a stronger, safer future. We look forward to working with states and metropolitan areas across our region as they begin to comply with the rule and reduce tailpipe pollution.”

In today’s notice, the Trump administration does forecast that it intends to initiate a rulemaking to eliminate the performance measure through proper mechanisms. This is a fight for another day. The rulemaking process requires a full opportunity for public review and comment. SELC will engage vigorously in the process along with our partners and fight to ensure that this commonsense rule remains in place.

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