LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — It’s called the most important number you haven’t heard of: the social cost of carbon. Tuesday, Louisiana’s top attorney challenged the federal government on how that estimate is being used.
Federal Judge James Cain heard the oral argument in the Lafayette federal courthouse. No decision was made, but based on his comments, he is at least leaning toward granting a nationwide injunction against the federal government.
“That’s why we’re here today. To keep the president in his sandbox,” surmised Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Landry entered federal court Tuesday confident in the state of Louisiana’s case. His legal team argued President Biden had overstepped his bounds through an executive order saying government agencies “shall” use a preliminary cost per ton of carbon emissions to update their policies, processes, and practices.
Judge Cain compared that action to a tax which can only be created by congress. The judge worried how the calculated cost of $50 per ton of carbon could affect which permits are granted for say for a lane added to a bridge, a new energy plant, or a farm.
“It’s kind of voodoo economics,” Landry said. “They were out there doing a study on the amount of methane that cattle release, and they are going to attach a cost to that, and they’re going to tax our beef, or our meat, or our poultry, or whatever the activity is to limit our intake of that.”
The Department of Justice represented the federal government in court and argued that similar formulas factoring in the greenhouse gases have been looked at by government agencies for decades, and none are being required to use them in decision making, only consider the cost of greenhouse gases on the global environment.
“He’s the president of the United States. He’s not the president of the globe,” Judge Cain said at one point. “I think there’s a big separation of power issue,” he continued.
The federal attorneys declined to comment on camera.
Attorney General Landry and nine other filing states worry if an injunction is not granted it could mean layoffs, closed factories, and more inflation. “He’s trying to do a complete takeover of all the industries in this country, and he’s doing it by trying to assess the amount of carbon that each of those activities has undertaken.”
You can read learn more about the federal announcement behind the social cost of carbon here.