Red states ask Supreme Court to block Biden rule on societal cost of greenhouse gases

Ten red states, led by Louisiana, asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block a Biden administration rule for figuring the costs of greenhouse gas pollution when the government makes decisions affecting the environment.

A January 2021 White House executive order directs an interagency working group to generate estimates for the societal costs of increased emissions of carbon, methane and nitrous oxide. The estimates are to be used to figure the monetary value of changes in such emissions resulting from government actions.

The states said the federal formulas inflate the estimated costs of oil and gas leasing and a host of other projects. They sued in federal court in Louisiana, and in February, US District Judge James D. Cain Jr. temporarily the use of the cost estimates blocked.

The government appealed, and the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the ruling. The states are now asking the Supreme Court to lift the stay and let the judge’s ruling take effect.

In an emergency application, they called the Biden working group’s efforts “a power grab designed to manipulate America’s entire federal regulatory apparatus through speculative costs so that the administration can impose its preferred policy outcomes on every sector of the American economy.”

They said the court should block “the most consequential rulemaking in American history” while the lower courts decide its fate.

The government told the judge in Louisiana that the states were acting prematurely, rushing to court before they knew what kind of effect the cost estimates will have. They should wait and challenge some future agency regulations that are actually issued, Justice Department lawyers said.

The Supreme Court is likely to seek a response from the administration before it acts.

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