Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) on Friday declared victory over the Biden Administration after a federal court granted Alabama’s request for a preliminary injunction President Biden’s “Social Cost of Carbon” executive order.

Marshall argued the program was a massive expansion of presidential executive power over American energy production and jobs.

“If allowed to continue, this order would have a devastating impact on the lives of Americans and practically every business, giving the President and his administration power to justify virtually any regulatory action,” said Marshall. “Even worse, the administration seeks to make these fundamental changes without citizen input or congressional approval. Fortunately, our motion for a preliminary injunction against this highly disruptive executive order has been granted by a federal court.

“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 unlawfully taxing American productivity and everyday life in the community, but also creating a scheme that can justify virtually any decision.”

The Biden Executive Order revives an Obama Administration plan requiring federal agencies to quantify the “global damage” of releasing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

These are emissions typical of a developed economy and result from nearly every aspect of human life. For example, 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% of nitrous oxide emissions, while 27% of methane emissions stem from livestock excretions. Methane also emits from using petroleum and natural gas.

The President, in his Executive Order, wrote “It is essential that agencies capture the full costs of greenhouse gas emissions as accurately as possible, including by taking global damages into account.  Doing so facilitates sound decision-making, recognizes the breadth of climate impacts, and supports the international leadership of the United States on climate issues. The 'social cost of carbon' (SCC), 'social cost of nitrous oxide' (SCN), and 'social cost of methane' (SCM) are estimates of the monetized damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions.  They are intended to include changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damage from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services.  An accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions when conducting cost-benefit analyses of regulatory and other actions.

A final determination of whether the President’s Executive Order can be enforced will be decided by the court. Whichever side prevails, the losing side is likely to appeal.

Steve Marshall was a longtime district attorney in Marshall County. He was appointed Alabama Attorney General by then Gov. Robert Bentley (R) in 2017. In 2018 he was elected to his own term as AG. He is seeking re-election in the 2022 Republican primary where he is being challenged by Baldwin County attorney Harry Still III.

The Republican primary is on May 24.

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