Upon taking office, President Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive orders on everything from immigration to COVID-19 — but less than two months later, one of his earliest actions as commander-in-chief may already be on the chopping block.
Fox Business revealed in an exclusive report this week that a full dozen states have blindsided Biden with a lawsuit that challenges the legality of a recent order he issued on the topic of climate change.
The lawsuit, first filed Monday by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R), takes issue with a provision in Biden’s Executive Order 13990, which attempts to assign a “social cost” to various greenhouse gases in hopes of guiding federal regulations.
“The ‘social cost of carbon’ (SCC), ‘social cost of nitrous oxide’ (SCN), and ‘social cost of methane’ (SCM) are estimates of the monetized damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions,” the order reads.
“They are intended to include changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damage from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services,” it adds.
Entitled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” the order assigns a “social cost” of “$269 billion for carbon dioxide, $990 billion for methane, and $8.24 trillion for nitrous oxide,” according to Fox Business, a total of “approximately $9.5 trillion.”
“Left in the dust”
Biden’s order claims “[a]n accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions when conducting cost-benefit analyses of regulatory and other actions.” But in Schmitt’s eyes, Biden lacks the authority to unilaterally set “social cost” values — and if left unchecked, the president’s order could have devastating consequences.
“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,” the Missouri AG said in a statement, as Fox Business reported.
“In practice, this enormous figure will be used 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,” Schmitt added.
“Billions or trillions” in damage
Schmitt also charged that the order “will be used to inflict untold billions or trillions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy for decades to come.”
According to Fox Business, “[s]tate attorneys general from Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah also joined” the lawsuit.
Of course, this suit is just the latest controversy to arise out of Biden’s energy agenda. The president has also taken flak over his decisions to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and limit fracking on public land. And his term is only just beginning.