Hoeven Joins Colleagues to Protect State DOTs, Push Back on Burdensome & Overreaching Mandates

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven joined Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, in urging the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to withdraw the agency’s proposal to implement a greenhouse gas emissions performance measure on state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations. The senators outline that the FHWA proposal does not have authority from Congress and that it would significantly burden state-level investments in roadways, bridges, highways and other transportation projects.

“FHWA’s proposal exceeds the agency’s limited statutory authority provided by Congress. We are especially troubled by this attempted overreach given the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, 142 S. Ct. 2587 (2022), which made clear that agency action implicating major questions require clear congressional authorization…current law does not provide any authority to make this proposal…FHWA’s attempt to create new authorities where Congress has not provided them would infringe on state DOTs’ necessary flexibility to meet the surface transportation needs of their residents,” the senators wrote.  

In addition, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), along with others, submitted formal comments opposing FHWA’s proposed rulemaking. The NDDOT also emphasized the agency lacks the authority to promulgate this rule. 

“Even if one were to believe there is arguably authority for the proposed rule, the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that there must be ‘clear’ authority for promulgation of a rule on a ‘major question.’ The proposal to regulate States to reduce GHG emissions would represent a major change in a major program, the highway program, without clear authority; so, there is not authority for the proposed rule,” wrote the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

In addition to Hoeven and Capito, the letter was signed by 25 of their Senate colleagues. Click here for the full text of the letter.