Ruling Complicates Biden Agenda

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The latest in a series of adverse court rulings stands to further complicate the Biden administration's efforts to rein in greenhouse gases (GHGs) from oil and natural gas operations. Last week the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a temporary freeze that blocks the Biden administration from using Obama-era “social cost of carbon” formulas in rulemaking and permitting processes to estimate economic damages associated with a rise in GHG emissions. The ruling also prevents agencies from citing or relying on pending estimates currently under revision by the Biden White House, reverting to a Trump-era policy that assigns a dramatically lower value per ton of GHG emissions. The court held in a 44-page ruling that using higher GHG estimates would “cause regulatory standards affecting air quality, energy efficiency, power plant regulation to increase in stringency,” economically harming the 10 states that filed suit, comprised of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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