President Biden’s executive order did not have the authority to issue binding and numerical “social costs” identified by an interagency working group, as done by federal agencies in the rule-making process.
The lawsuit challenges President Biden’s Executive Order 13990, titled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” This executive order will lead to regulations that stifle manufacturing, harm agriculture, and have serious economic impact across Arkansas and America.
“As the wife of a row crop farmer, I know firsthand how the Obama-Biden Administration’s egregious federal overreach directly harmed agriculture. Now, we are faced with the same power grab by President Biden which will hurt agriculture and manufacturing jobs,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not sit back and let this massive expansion of federal control take away jobs from hard-working Arkansans while the cost of energy, food and necessities dramatically increase.”
Two of Arkansas’s largest industries, manufacturing and agriculture, will be impacted by President Biden’s executive order. According to the Arkansas Farm Bureau, Arkansas ranks 1st in the nation in rice production. More than 60 percent of the rice produced in Arkansas is exported.
Agriculture is a key economic driver of the State with 14.5 million acres of workable farmland. Arkansas’s agricultural industry contributes nearly $21 billion to the state’s economy each year and employs nearly 270,000 Arkansans.
The lawsuit notes that the interagency working group’s interim values place the social cost of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide for 2020 at approximately $9.5 trillion - $269 billion for carbon dioxide, $990 billion for methane, and $8.24 trillion for nitrous oxide.
The suit states, “In practice, this enormous figure will be used to justify an equally enormous expansion of federal regulatory power that will intrude into every aspect of Americans’ lives—from their cars, to their refrigerators and homes, to their grocery and electric bills. It will be used to inflict untold billions or trillions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy for decades to come. This regulatory expansion will stifle energy production, strangle America’s energy independence, suppress agriculture, destroy millions of jobs, deter innovation, and impoverish millions.”
The states argue in the lawsuit that using these interim values could massively expand the scope and reach of the regulatory power of the federal government, potentially impacting the United States economy and every household in America.
In addition to Arkansas, state attorneys general from Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah joined the suit.