By Charles Wallace
Biden administration sued over climate change EO
Violates separation of powers
A coalition of 12 states is suing the Biden administration over the climate change Executive Order (EO) signed by the president on his first day in office, citing the potential economic impact on the country.
Led by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, the suit challenges President Joe Biden’s EO 13990, titled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” The lawsuit alleges the Biden administration did not have the authority to issue binding numbers for the “social costs of greenhouse gases” to be used in federal regulations. It claims the EO regulations “will stifle manufacturing, harm agriculture, and have a serious economic impact across the country.”
According to the statement by Schmitt, manufacturing and agriculture would be impacted in Missouri, which contributes billions to the economy and employs “nearly 400,000 people in the state.”
“Under President Biden’s executive order, which he didn’t have the authority to enact, these hard-working Missourians who have lived and worked this land for generations could be left in the dust,” said Attorney General Schmitt in the statement.
The suit claims the impact from the interim value of $9.5 trillion for the “social cost” of greenhouse gases (GHG) will “expand the scope and reach of the federal government’s regulatory power” and affect every household.
The suit states, “In practice, President Biden’s order directs federal agencies to use this enormous figure to justify an equally enormous expansion of federal regulatory power that will intrude into every aspect of Americans’ lives—from their cars to their refrigerators and homes, to their grocery and electric bills.
“If the EO stands, it will inflict hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy for decades to come. It will destroy jobs, stifle energy production, strangle America’s energy independence, suppress agriculture, deter innovation, and impoverish working families.”
In late February, the Biden administration announced it would return to an Obama-era method for calculating the social costs of greenhouse gases. The Interagency Working Group, which Biden reinstated, published their interim costs on Feb. 26.
The group determined the cost based on global impact to be $51 per metric ton for carbon dioxide, $1,500 per metric ton for methane and $18,000 per metric ton for nitrous oxide, adding up to an estimated $9.5 trillion in social costs generated through 2020. The final rules will not go into effect until June 1, 2022.
The lawsuit stated with “manure and flatulence from livestock” producing roughly a third of methane emissions in the United States—according to the Environmental Protection Agency—the social costs of producing meat, milk and eggs adds up to $268 billion annually.
The suit stated the interim cost by the Interagency Working Group fails to comply with procedural and substantive requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. The lawsuit alleges the group did not seek public comment and adopted the previous version, which was “arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and contrary to law.”
The states contend the Interagency Working Group’s analysis failed to consider important aspects of the problem because it declined to give any weight “to the positive externalities associated with affordable and reliable domestic energy and agricultural production.”
The suit also stated the Biden administration’s actions violate the separation of powers vested in Congress by the Constitution. “The power to regulate is the power to destroy, and our Constitution does not vest in the president the unilateral authority to regulate virtually every aspect of the American economy,” the suit stated.
Adopting the interim values would usurp the state regulations under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution by limiting the state’s scope of authority in areas subject to state regulation.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes—who joined the lawsuit—told the Salt Lake Tribune the state wants good clean air and water policies, “not executive orders that bypass Congress and subject businesses and whole industries to onerous restrictions arbitrarily based on subjectivity and not science.” Reyes stated the EO would hurt Utah’s economy.
State attorneys general from Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee also joined the action.