FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2021

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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall Joins 10-State Lawsuit to Stop Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Carbon

(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined nine other attorneys general in suing to prevent the Biden administration from carrying out an executive order that dramatically expands executive power and threatens to kill thousands of jobs throughout the country. The order assigns an arbitrary and extraordinarily high “cost” to any emission of carbon and then requires numerous federal regulators to use that number when assessing the costs or benefits of any regulation. The result will be to massively expand the federal
government’s regulatory power by justifying unprecedented increases in restrictions on nearly any type of human activity.

“This order would have a devastating impact on the lives of Americans, giving the President and his administration power to justify virtually any regulatory action,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Even worse, the administration seeks to make these fundamental changes without citizen input or Congressional approval. My pledge to the people of Alabama is that I will fight on their behalf to prevent this illegal and unacceptable disruption to our way of life.”

The attorneys general note that the “social cost of carbon” has been called by economists “the most important number you never heard of.” That is because carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are by-products of everyday activities in America today such as the production of electricity to light our homes and highways, natural gas for our buses and plant operations, farming operations, a wide variety of industrial activities, the production of cement and other construction materials, and waste disposal. They are among the most common and prevalent by-products of human economic activity.

In a recent executive order, President Joe Biden created a working group of federal appointees to establish a damages value based upon global environmental impact from climate changes. The working group assigned arbitrarily high costs to any emission that could value the collective costs of carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions in U.S. for 2020 at $9.5 trillion. The President further required federal agencies to immediately begin applying these numbers in regulatory actions and, vaguely, “other” decision-making.

The Biden administration’s damages values would result in the most expansive and expensive and expensive federal regulatory initiative in history. The Biden executive order has wide-ranging impacts on decisions made by virtually every federal agency, including the Departments of Interior, Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Environmental Protection, Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and the U.S. Treasury.

The President’s actions improperly and illegally change the way federal decision-making is conducted, including changing the cost-benefit analysis for nearly every significant agency action. This means federal agencies could use these estimates to arbitrarily assign massive costs or massive benefits, whichever they choose, to every regulatory action, to environmental impact studies, and to establish mitigation costs, and more. These values have the ability to fundamentally transform the entire regulatory structure of the federal government, as well as the way states conduct business, and how Americans live.

The Biden executive order revives a flawed Obama administration scheme, requiring federal agencies to quantify the “global damage” of releasing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These are some of the most inescapable emissions of any developed economy and result from nearly every aspect of human life. For instance, carbon dioxide emits from burning carbon-based materials, like fossil fuel and firewood, but also results from chemical reactions
like the manufacturing of cement. Agricultural activities, such as soil and waste management, result in roughly 75 percent of our nitrous oxide emissions, while 27 percent of methane emissions stem from livestock excretions. Methane also emits from using petroleum and natural gas.

The executive order’s overreach touches every part of American life: the generators powering our homes, the dishwashers cleaning our tableware, the lawnmowers cutting our grass, the firewood keeping us warm, the livestock and produce feeding our families, and every breath we exhale. By executive fiat, the Biden administration is not only arbitrarily and improperly taxing American productivity and everyday life in the community, but also creating a scheme
that can justify virtually any decision.

In addition to Attorney General Marshall, attorneys general of Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming joined in the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

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