Attorney General Cameron Leads 21-State Coalition Challenging Biden Administration’s Unlawful Climate Mandate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (December 21, 2023) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron led a 21-state coalition challenging the Biden Administration’s latest extreme climate rule, which mandates that states with federal interstates and highways must adopt stringent CO2 emissions standards. The attorneys general argue that Congress has not given the Department of Transportation the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“President Biden is unconstitutionally ramming his radical climate agenda through administrative agencies that lack Congressional authority to implement such actions,” said Attorney General Cameron. “We will not stand by while this administration attempts to circumvent the legislative process.”

General Cameron and the coalition assert that DOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) overstepped its legal authority. The coalition writes, “Congress has not given FHWA or DOT authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Nor can the Agencies compel the States to administer a federal regulatory program or mandate them to further Executive policy wishes absent some other authority to do so—which is lacking as to this rule.”

They also make clear that the proposed measure violates the principles of federalism by requiring states to implement a federal regulatory program. The complaint explains: “The Constitution is also clear that action by the States cannot be mandated through federal action like the Final Rule. ‘The Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program.’ [because] ‘the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.’” Accordingly, “[e]ven if Congress believed the Final Rule was the best means of reducing CO2 in order to address climate change, the States could not be directed to implement the policy choices of the federal government.”

Further, the attorneys general note that FHWA previously issued a similar rule, which was repealed after the agency determined that the measure may duplicate “existing efforts in some States” and imposed “unnecessary burdens on State DOTs and MPOs [metropolitan planning organizations] that were not contemplated by Congress.”

General Cameron is joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming in the lawsuit.

Read the complaint here.