Under legal pressure, the Trump administration has reversed course on one of its many attempts to roll back various climate-related regulations by reinstating a transportation-related greenhouse gas rule it tried to kill just a few months ago.
On Monday, the Federal Highway Administration announced that the 2016 Transportation Clean Air Rule, which requires state and local planners to track and curb pollution from trucks and cars on federal highways in their jurisdictions, will remain in effect for now, while simultaneously announcing its intent to rewrite the rule.
Transportation produces about 36 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The Transportation Clean Air Rule helps give states and local governments more leverage in seeking to cut down on that pollution. The rule, which is linked to federal highway funding, aims to promote mass transit and other alternatives to fossil-fuel transportation.
Conservation groups that challenged the Federal Housing Administration in court over the attempted rollback said the reversal shows that the Trump administration is trying to bluff and bully its way to undoing Obama-era climate regulations, at times through illegal actions that can be effectively challenged in court.
“This is a crucial win for our climate.”
Several states and state agencies, including California and the California Air Resources Board, filed a similar suit against the federal government. The pressure has paid off, says Amanda Eaken, a transportation and climate expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“This is a crucial win for our climate,” she says. With the rule back in place, the FHA can resume working with state and local planners to find transportation options that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the rule, they face a first compliance deadline about a year from now, in October 2018.
The state and regional agencies are tasked with coming up with transportation plans that map…