Biden’s ‘cost of carbon’ policy survives another legal hurdle

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NEW ORLEANS — In a victory for President Joe Biden, a federal appeals court on Thursday declined to reverse its March ruling reinitiating administration plans to account for potential harm from greenhouse gas emissions during creating rules for pollution-generating industries.

A Louisiana-based federal judge had blocked the so-called social cost of carbon policy earlier this year, saying it would lead to costly regulatory burdens and drive up energy prices. But a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans unanimously suspended the lower court last month. The appeals court on Thursday issued a brief order saying that none of the court’s 17 full-time judges had requested a rehearing, which was requested by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Landry led the challenge on behalf of Louisiana and nine other states.

We are disappointed with the 5th Circuit’s decision and will appeal to the Supreme Court,” a statement from Landry’s office said.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming joined Louisiana in the challenge.

The policy aims to put a monetary value on the damage caused by each additional ton of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. This cost estimate would be used to shape future rules for oil and gas drilling, autos and other industries, and a higher estimate could justify stricter rules.

On his first day in office, Biden issued an order that restored the cost estimate to around $51 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions after the Trump administration reduced the figure to around $7 or less. per ton. Former President Donald Trump’s estimate only included damage felt in the United States compared to global damage captured in the higher estimates that were previously used under the Obama administration.

Republicans and business groups have questioned the accuracy of the complex economic models used to determine the cost estimate. They argue that a focus on future climate damage would hamper the economy, especially the energy industry.

The 5th Circuit panel said in last month’s decision that any regulatory burden the policy might cause is speculative at this point and therefore Louisiana and the other states challenging the policy did not have standing to sue. He said Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge James David Cain for the Western District of Louisiana “exceeded the authority of federal courts” by ordering the Biden administration “to abide by the policies of previous administrations. in terms of regulatory analysis in the absence of specific action by the agency for the review.”

The ruling panel included Justices Leslie Southwick, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, and James Graves and Gregg Costa, both appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama. Of the court’s 17 full-time judges, 12 were appointed by Republican presidents, including six by Trump.

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