More than 175 environmental organizations sent a letter Tuesday to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging him to adopt a federal rule that requires state and city transportation departments to measure and set standards for their greenhouse gas emissions.
The letter, signed by national groups such as Sierra Club, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Transportation for America, thanked the Biden administration for taking the first step toward implementation of the emission rule but urged them to adopt it as quickly as possible.
“The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United
States,” the letter reads. “The addition of the greenhouse gas measure to the Department’s existing performance measurement framework will shine needed light on the climate impacts of these investments and lead to more informed decision-making.”
Buttigieg earlier this month proposed the reinstatement of the emission draft rule to require city and state transportation departments that use national highway systems to set carbon emission reduction targets.
The state and city departments would be required to report to the federal government at least twice a year on the progress of meeting those emission targets. The rule would give some flexibility to state and city governments, allowing them to set their own goals as needed.
The rule would build on existing regulations that require those institutions to track air pollutants amid a broader push to curb greenhouse gases.
The news came after a heat wave engulfed much of the U.S. over the weekend, with some cities on the East Coast setting temperature records. Soaring and extreme temperatures are the result of climate change as the globe heats up because of greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere.
Tuesday’s letter, led by the National Campaign for Transit Justice, comes after centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposed spending legislation from backed by President Biden that would include $555 billion to address climate change.
Manchin objected to the package, citing inflation concerns, in the 50-50 Senate, where every Democrat would need to support the bill for it to pass by a process known as budget reconciliation.
Following the news from Manchin, the president labeled climate change an emergency last week but stopped short of declaring a state of emergency over the issue.
“The climate crisis is not coming; it is here now,” the organizations wrote in the letter. “And given that urgency, we ask for your support in quickly finalizing this rule to meet the moment of crisis we are in.”