TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking to block the Biden administration’s attempt to end-run Congress and implement parts of the so-called “Green New Deal” by executive order.
“Once again, an administration wants federal bureaucrats to do by burdensome regulation what it is unable to pass through Congress,” Schmidt said. “This order would result in new regulations that would significantly burden Kansas agriculture, energy production and manufacturing. No president has authority to impose this massive job-killing cost on our economy by executive order.”
The lawsuit, filed Monday by a coalition of 12 state attorneys general, challenges President Biden’s Executive Order 13990, which attempts to impose binding rules that federal agencies must use to calculate the “social costs” of greenhouse gases when creating federal regulations. The suit alleges that the Biden administration has no statutory authority to decree the formula to be used for calculating those costs. The potential stringency of federal regulations imposed at the direction of that executive order would stifle manufacturing, harm agriculture, and cause serious damage in Kansas and across the country, the attorneys general argue.
“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,” the attorneys general wrote in the lawsuit. “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 would invite massive expansion of the scope and reach of federal regulatory power, potentially harming the United States economy and every household in America.
“(I)f agencies follow President Biden’s directive that the agencies ‘shall’ use these Interim Estimates in their rulemakings and other regulatory activities, that use will inevitably result in highly restrictive regulatory policies in innumerable areas,” the attorneys general argue. The lawsuit argues a presidential executive order lacks statutory authority to impose these costs, the Constitution vests that sort power in Congress, and federal law prohibits this sort of executive branch action without following procedures that the administration bypassed in this case.
This is the first lawsuit Schmidt has filed challenging the legal basis for an action by the Biden administration. During the Obama administration, Schmidt successfully challenged several federal actions, including the Waters of the United States rule, unilateral executive actions related to immigration, and illegal regulation of greenhouse gases without authorization by Congress. Last month, Schmidt also wrote President Biden asking him to reconsider his administration’s decisions to unilaterally revoke the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and to suspend Operation Talon, a federal program that finds and deports sex offenders who are illegally in the country.
A copy of the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri can be found online at https://bit.ly/3ruZqvE.