The Biden White House has warned that the federal gas and oil leasing program would get significant delays during its appeal and legal fight with GOP-led states.
The administration stated that a federal judge’s ruling to temporarily stop the White House from considering the alleged “social cost” of methane and carbon emissions would lead to major delays in ongoing federal programs including gas and oil leasing, according to a Dept. of Justice filing. Programs at the Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of the Interior (DOI) and Environmental Protection Agency would also get delayed or even frozen because of the ruling
“Work concerning public-facing grants, rules, permits, leases and other projects were delayed or ceased altogether so that government agencies can determine if and how to proceed,” the White House said in the filing.
“The preliminary injunction damages the federal government—and therefore the American public’s interest—by chilling the exchange of ideas within the government discussions about the social cost of greenhouse emissions,” the filing stated.
On February 11, Judge James Cain, Jr. from the District Court for Louisiana, gave a preliminary injunction requested by 10 GOP state attorneys general fighting the Biden White House’s “social cost” policy. The policy, coming from a Jan. 2021 executive order penned by President Biden, would force agencies to look at the approximate dollar value from every new metric ton of carbon emissions before approving some projects.
Cain ruled this policy would cause states harm and ordered the Biden team to stop pending more litigation. The administration appealed this ruling.
But this ruling has already harmed agencies that incorporated the policy into their process, according to a Saturday filing from the Dept. of Justice.
“The Interior Dept. has looked at the program components that use the interim guidance on social cost of carbon analysis, and delays are now expected in leasing for gas and oil programs,” DOI spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said.
“The interior dept. continues to move forward with reforms to deal with the significant shortcomings in the country’s offshore and onshore gas and oil programs,” Schwartz stated. “Specifically, the Dept. is committed to guaranteeing its programs account for climate impacts.”