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Knudsen Asks Court To Block Emissions Rule

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen asked a district court Friday, Jan. 19, to block the Biden administration’s greenhouse gas emissions rule while litigation proceeds. The rule would require states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on its roadways to help achieve President Biden’s economy-wide goal of having “net-zero” emissions by 2050.

Knudsen filed the lawsuit against the Biden administration last month. The “National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measure,” which was promulgated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates states with National Highway System mileage to set declining targets for on-road CO2 emissions reduction.

“The rule needs to be stopped before we’re forced to face the disastrous consequences of Joe Biden’s radical green agenda. We know it just won’t work in Montana,” Knudsen said.

If the rule takes effect, Montana and other states would be forced to devote significant resources to comply with the federal agency’s Feb. 1 deadline to establish targets and report to the agency. Estimates show that the cost to establish initial emissions targets requires hundreds of hours of manpower, costing each state more than $600,000.

Knudsen claims the rule will disproportionately harm states with more rural areas. According to federal data, the average Montana driver drove 14,640 miles in 2020, 2.5 times more than the average driver in Washington, D.C.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials blasted the rule when it was proposed, saying the “targets are not broadly attainable and ignore the unique scenarios of each state.” States like Montana that are both rural and growing in population would “likely have the largest challenge of all” in implementing the rule.

Knudsen says the final rule is unlawful because it was promulgated in excess of the agencies’ statutory authority, violates the Constitution by usurping the role of the Legislature and of the States, and is arbitrary and capricious. The lawsuit calls for the court to vacate the rule in its entirety and prohibit its enforcement.

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