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Biden sued over executive environmental order

Twelve American states have filed a federal lawsuit against President Joe Biden for his executive climate change order, alleging that he lacks the statutory and constitutional authority to dictate specific values for the “social costs” of greenhouse gases for regulatory programs administered by the federal government.

Biden signed executive order 13990 on his first day in the White House, directing federal agencies to calculate the “social costs” of greenhouse gas emissions.

The order states “the ‘social cost of carbon’ (SCC), ‘social cost of nitrous oxide’ (SCN), and ‘social cost of methane’ (SCM) are estimates of the monetised damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions”.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt from Missouri is leading the lawsuit. State attorneys general from Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah have also joined.

Schmitt said in a statement that manufacturing, agriculture, and energy production employs thousands of people and are essential to Missouri’s economy.

“Under President Biden’s executive order, which he didn’t have the authority to enact, these hard-working Missourians who have lived and worked this land for generations could be left in the dust,” he says.

Biden has referred to climate change as an “existential threat”, and aims to decarbonise the US power sector by 2035 and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The order is separate to the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM) passed by the US government, which authorises a 15-year phase-down of HFCs in alignment with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM) requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a phase-down of the production and consumption of HFCs through an allowance program. 

The full lawsuit is available to read here.

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