The Biden administration proposed a new rule Thursday that would require states to establish carbon emission reductions for vehicles and to track progress.
It is the latest effort by President Biden to combat climate change.
The Federal Highway Administration said it would allow states to set their own reduction goals so long as they align with Mr. Biden’s ambitious target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Our approach gives states the flexibility they need to set their own emission reduction targets, while providing them with resources from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to meet those targets and protect their communities,” Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution.
The rule will dictate how states can use the $6.4 billion earmarked to reduce highway emissions as part of last year’s infrastructure law. The new rule drew praise from environmentalists but also spark Republican accusations of executive branch overreach.
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The proposed rule is currently a draft and under review for public comment. It comes amid congressional gridlock on climate change and in the wake of the Supreme Court curbing the Environmental Protection Agency’s broad power to regulate emissions.
State laws in two dozen states and the District of Columbia already require such emission reduction targets and track progress, according to Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. She said the new rule would bring that “locally proven approach to scale nationwide.”
Environmental group Evergreen Action lauded the move.
“This kind of rulemaking, paired with investments from Congress to support state climate leadership, is exactly what we should be seeing from an administration that promised whole-of-government action on climate,” said Lena Moffitt, the group’s chief of staff.
DOT earlier this year increased fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles starting next year, reversing a Trump-era rollback of emissions regulations.
• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at email@example.com.
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