A Trump appointed judge rules that the estimates used by the Biden administration are harmful to oil producing states.
A federal judge in Lake Charles has blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to put greater emphasis on potential damage from greenhouse gas emissions when creating rules for polluting industries. Judge James David Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana sided Friday with Republican attorneys general from energy-producing states, who said the administration’s action to raise the cost estimate of carbon emissions threatened to drive up energy costs while decreasing state revenues from energy production. Judge James David Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana sided Friday with Republican attorneys general from energy-producing states, who said the administration’s action to raise the cost estimate of carbon emissions threatened to drive up energy costs while decreasing state revenues from energy production.theadvocate.com
Trump had $7 dollars a ton of carbon dioxide and Biden raised it to $51. Trump just looked to damages to the US and not the whole world.
President Joe Biden on his first day in office restored the climate cost estimate to about $51 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions after the Trump administration had reduced the figure to about $7 or less per ton. Former President Donald Trump’s estimate included only damages felt in the U.S. versus the global damages captured in higher estimates that were previously used under the Obama administration. The estimate would be used to shape future rules for oil and gas drilling, automobiles, and other industries. Using a higher cost estimate would help justify reductions in planet-warming emissions, by making the benefits more likely to outweigh the expenses of complying with new rules. Known as the social cost of carbon, the damage figure uses economic models to capture impacts from rising sea levels, recurring droughts and other consequences of climate change. The $51 estimate was first established in 2016 and used to justify major rules such as the Clean Power Plan — former President Barack Obama’s signature effort to address climate change by tightening emissions standards from coal-fired power plants — and separate rules imposing tougher vehicle emission standards.
The Supreme Court has already blocked the Clean Power Plan and Trumps rule has also been overturned.
The Supreme Court blocked the Clean Power Plan before it ever took effect, and a more lenient rule imposed by the Trump administration was later thrown out by a federal appeals court. The carbon cost estimate had not yet been used very much under Biden, but is being considered in a pending environmental review of oil and gas lease sales in western states. In Friday’s ruling, Cain, whom Trump nominated to the court, wrote that using the climate damage figure in oil and gas lease reviews would “artificially increase the cost estimates of lease sales” and cause direct harm to energy-producing states. Economist Michael Greenstone, who helped establish the social cost of carbon while working in the Obama administration, said if the ruling stands, it would signal the U.S. is again unwilling to confront climate change. “The social cost of carbon guides the stringency of climate policy,” said the University of Chicago professor. “Setting it to near-zero Trump administration levels effectively removes all the teeth from climate regulations.”
The republicans have shown in may ways that they don’t believe in climate change and our Attorney General is leading the charge.
Republican attorneys general led by Louisiana’s Jeff Landry said the Biden administration’s revival of the higher estimate was illegal and exceeded its authority by basing the figure on global considerations. The other states whose officials sued are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. Landry’s office issued a statement calling Cain’s ruling “a major win for nearly every aspect of Louisiana’s economy and culture.” “Biden’s executive order was an attempt by the government to take over and tax the people based on winners and losers chosen by the government,” the statement said. The White House referred questions to the Justice Department, which would not comment.
These rules have been around for a decade or more as the US worked to establish vehicle mileage standards.
Federal officials began developing climate damage cost estimates more than a decade ago after environmentalists successfully sued the government for not taking greenhouse gas emissions into account when setting vehicle mileage standards, said Max Sarinsky, a professor at the New York University School of Law. Not fully accounting for carbon damages would skew any cost-benefit analysis of a proposed rule in favor of industry, he said, adding that the social cost of carbon had been “instrumental” in allowing agencies to accurately judge how their rules affect the climate. “Without a proper valuation of climate impact, it would complicate agencies’ good-faith efforts to make reasoned conclusions,” Sarinsky said. A federal judge in Missouri last year had sided with the administration in a similar challenge from another group of Republican states. In that case, the judge said the Republicans lacked standing to bring their lawsuit because they had yet to suffer any harm under Biden’s order.
This is not the first time a Trump appointee has ruled against climate change.
Friday’s ruling by Cain follows a ruling by another Louisiana federal judge last summer that struck down a separate Biden attempt to address greenhouse gas emissions by suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands and water. The judge in that case, Terry Doughty, is also a Trump appointee. In a sign of the shifting politics on the issue, a federal judge in Washington rejected a lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico conducted largely in response to Doughty’s ruling. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, an Obama appointee, threw out the lease sale, saying the administration did not adequately take into account its effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
These rulings shows why the most important appointments are judges throughout the system. It also shows where politics outweighs science.