By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

Eight states are challenging the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) decision to suspended its requirement to track greenhouse gas emissions at transportation projects.

California, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state claim in a Sept. 20 federal court lawsuit that the delay violates the Administrative Procedures Act, which governs how federal agencies propose and establish regulations. Anti-growth groups made a similar argument in their separate July 31 lawsuit against the government.

ARTBA believes the Federal Highway Administration made the right call when it suspended the greenhouse gas rule in May. The rule was part of larger performance measures required under the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation reauthorization law. ARTBA maintains the rule exceeds both the authority of the FHWA and the intent of MAP-21.

U.S. DOT had not responded to either of the two lawsuits as of Sept. 21. However, an August “Significant Rulemaking Report” indicates the agency plans to take comments on the greenhouse gas requirement in December.

ARTBA is closely monitoring both lawsuits and, if necessary, will take steps to support FHWA in its decision to suspend the greenhouse gas rule.