The lawsuit was filed on Monday by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. He was joined in the suit by state attorneys general from Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.
The states claim that President Biden lacks authority to issue binding numbers for the “social costs of greenhouse gases” to be used in federal regulations, taking issue with the executive order, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” which he signed on his first day in office.
The order directed all executive departments and agencies to review and take action to “immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis”.
In a statement, AG Schmitt’s office claimed that “the potential stringency of federal regulations that could come from this executive order will stifle manufacturing, harm agriculture, and have serious economic impact across the country”.
The lawsuit cites values arrived at by an interagency working group established by the president’s executive order. It places the social cost of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide at approximately $9.5trn per year - $269bn for CO2, $990bn for methane, and $8.24trn for nitrous oxide.
The suit states that: “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 Executive Order stands, it will inflict hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars of damage to the US 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.”
The Independent has contacted the White House for comment.
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