States Sue over Biden Carbon Order

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States Sue over Biden Carbon Order

President Biden wants to set the "social cost" of carbon at $50 per metric ton for now and determine a higher rate later. Twelve states are suing to stop him.


These states have filed suit to stop a January executive order that directs the federal government to determine the social cost of carbon and tie it to inflation. In the interim, the order sets that cost at $50 per metric ton. That is the same rate that was used in the Obama Administration but much higher than the $7 per metric ton rate used by President Trump.


The lawsuit contends that President Biden did not have authority to issue this order. In addition, the suit argues:


Setting the "social cost" of greenhouse gases is an inherently speculative, policy-laden, and indeterminate task, which involves attempting to predict such unknowable contingencies as future human migrations, international conflicts, and global catastrophes for hundreds of years into the future. Assigning such values is a quintessentially legislative action that falls within Congress’s exclusive authority.


Supporters of setting a social cost of carbon contend that it is a way to price the spillover effects of carbon use on the environment. They argue that the actual cost of carbon does not account for pollution and climate change, so the federal government should set a rate that properly captures these costs. 



The states filing the lawsuit are Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Missouri's attorney general is taking the lead on the case and filed it in that state.


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