Judge Rules Against Biden’s Climate Mandate

By: Lauren | Published: Apr 30, 2024

Throughout his nearly four years in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden has made it his mission to address the issue of climate change. He has passed several pieces of legislation which ensure that America does its part in protecting the planet for future generations. 

However, one of Biden’s recent climate mandates regarding the measuring of greenhouse gas emissions by state governments has just been denied by a US judge from Texas. 

Biden’s Highway Climate Mandate

Biden’s highway climate mandate was finalized in November 2023; the bill requires state and local transportation officials to set and measure annual emission targets. 

Aerial view of several highways overlapping

Source: Freepik

As Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explained, “This new performance measure will provide states with a clear and consistent framework to track carbon pollution and the flexibility to set their own climate targets.” 


State Officials Were Not Excited by the President’s Bill

Once President Biden announced this new bill, state government officials from all over the country immediately began speaking out against it. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks into a microphone at an event

Source: @KHOU11/YouTube

Many, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, argued that the law “overstepped its congressional authority” by issuing regulations upon state governments. Texas even argued that the bill illegally restricted the use of federal funds and violated the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Texas Takes Biden to Court

Texas and several other Red states took their fight against Biden’s bill to federal court, over which Trump-appointed Judge James Hendrix presided. 

Digital illustration of the Texas flag flying against a setting sun

Source: Adobe Stock

And on Wednesday, April 17, Judge Hendrix ruled against Biden’s bill and agreed with the Republican states that the federal government does not have the authority to force states to set emissions targets for transportation. 

This Is Not What the Federal Government Is For

Judge Hendrix explained in his ruling that the “performance of the Interstate/National Highway Systems” refers to “the infrastructure’s effectiveness in facilitating travel, commerce, and national defense—not environmental outputs of vehicles using the systems.”

Photograph of the US Capitol Building with a small American flag against a blue sky

Source: iStock

After which, Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO.) and Rick Crawford (R-ARK.) said, “This was a clear case of blatant overreach by the Biden Administration from the beginning, and we commend the Court for its ruling.”

Biden’s Administration Claims This Bill Would Have Had an Immense Affect on Climate Change

While Republicans around the country are thrilled by Judge Hendrix’s decision, millions of Democrats and environmentalists are wildly disappointed. 

US President Joe Biden speaks during a video interview

Source: @JoeBiden/YouTube

Although many see the mandate as a form of government control, the idea behind it was to encourage state governments to assist in reducing carbon emissions. If the bill hadn’t been overturned, it would have likely had an extremely positive effect on the nation’s greenhouse gases.


Gas-Powered Vehicles Cause 29% of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The president is not wrong in saying that gas-powered vehicles are a blight on the environment. In the United States alone, there are some 288.5 million gasoline-powered vehicles in operation.

Dozens of cars sit in traffic at dusk

Source: Freepik

And according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) those millions of vehicles release so much carbon dioxide into the air every year that they make up 30% of the nation’s total carbon emissions. 


Biden Wants to “Upend the Oil and Gas Industry”

Trying to insult the president, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claims that  Biden’s “unilateral decree disregards statutory mandates,” which “upends the oil and gas industry.”

Photograph of a large factory emitting greenhouse gases into the air during sunset

Source: Freepik

But because of Biden’s many bills fighting for green energy, including promoting the manufacturing of electric vehicles and forcing states to monitor carbon emissions through vehicles, it’s clear that this is what the president actually wants.


The President Agreed to Uphold the Paris Agreement

President Biden is trying desperately to minimize fossil fuel production and promote green energy sources because he believes these policies will help save the planet. But that’s not the only reason why; he is also legally bound to do so. 

Several hands hold a blue and white book that says “The Paris Agreement “

Source: @TheGlobeandMail/YouTube

Shortly after his inauguration, Biden signed to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change that ensures participants take tangible action to increase green energy and decrease carbon emissions. 


Biden Will Continue to Fight for Clean Energy

Because of his promise to uphold the Paris Agreement and his clear concern for the ever-changing climate, it’s unlikely that President Biden will allow this ruling to stop him from going forward with his fight for clean energy.

Photograph of green energy through windmills and solar panels

Source: Freepik

The president has also passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the “most significant action Congress has taken on clean energy and climate change in the nation’s history.” As well as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which contains several provisions to reverse the effects of climate change. 


The Transportation Department Is Figuring Out Its Next Steps

And while the fight to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles around the country is currently on hold because of Judge Hendrix’s ruling, Biden’s administration says they’re going to try to figure out a new way to do so. 

US Secretary of the Transportation Department Pete Buttigieg

Source: @UpNorthLive/YouTube

Reports say that the Transportation Department, headed by Secretary Pete Buttigieg who staunchly supported Biden’s original bill is already hard at work attempting to file a similar bill that a judge won’t be able to overturn. 


Which of President Biden’s Bills Will Be Upheld If He Loses in November?

President Biden’s term has been absolutely full of new legislation to fight against climate change, but many Americans wonder which of these bills will stay if he loses the White House to former president Donald Trump in November. 

A digital illustration of the White House with photographs of President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump

Source: @GlobalNews/YouTube

If Trump does win, it’s extremely likely that he will try to reverse almost every single one of Biden’s climate action plans. However, he will need approval from the federal government to do so. Whether or not he’ll get it is yet to be seen.