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Blunt, Lankford & Colleagues Move to Stop Flawed Social Cost of Carbon Metric from Driving Energy Regulations

July 21, 2022

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Senator James Lankford (Okla.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined 11 of their Republican colleagues in introducing the Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act, a bill to prohibit the federal government from using the flawed social cost of carbon, social cost of methane, social cost of nitrous oxide, or the social cost of any other greenhouse gas metrics in the rulemaking process. U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (N.C.) introduced companion legislation along with five House Republicans.

“Using the ‘social cost of carbon’ to justify burdensome, costly energy regulations will deal another blow to American families, farmers, and small businesses that are already facing crushing inflation and skyrocketing energy prices,” said Blunt. “If a new regulation is needed for the health and safety of Americans, and falls within the appropriate jurisdiction of the department or agency issuing it, the administration should be able to defend that regulation on the merits. Relying on the ‘social cost of carbon’ is a transparent effort to invent new ways to enact a radical, green-energy agenda that Americans cannot afford. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this effort to prevent more regulatory uncertainty and protect families and our economy from even higher costs.”

“Oklahomans want clean air, land, and water. But the ‘social cost of carbon’ was created without transparency for the public or the industries it impacts. It has no basis in reality,” said Lankford. “The social cost of carbon has a big impact on every Oklahoma family and their pocketbook since it is used to justify many parts of Democrats’ illegitimate, progressive climate-change scheme that increases the cost of gasoline, electricity, and other goods. The Supreme Court recently determined in West Virginia v. EPA that the EPA may not cap greenhouse gas emissions because Congress did not provide the agency with that authority. In the same way, the social cost of carbon metric is clearly outside the scope of EPA’s regulatory authority, and our bill ensures they stop using it.”

“The Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act takes important steps to halt the use of flawed metrics to justify overreaching government regulations,” said Hudson. “American industries and job-creators need regulatory certainty, not biased estimates that fail to comply with key rulemaking guidance. I appreciate Senator Lankford’s leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my House colleagues on this important bill.”

In addition to Blunt and Lankford, the bill was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), Roger Marshall (Kan.), and Jim Risch (Idaho). In addition to Hudson, the bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives David McKinley (W.Va.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Buddy Carter (Ga.), Greg Steube (Fla.), and Byron Donalds (Fla.).

“In West Virginia, we know all too well the negative impact of burdensome regulations on our energy producers, including coal and natural gas,” Capito said. “With a troubling lack of transparency, the Biden administration seeks to apply an obscure figure, known as the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, to justify these costly, job-killing regulations. The Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act would prevent federal agencies from future overreach through opaque and overstated cost analyses. This comes at a critical time as Americans are facing skyrocketing energy costs and runaway inflation and the Biden administration continues to stifle American energy production, citing these very same ‘social cost’ figures. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation that would enable West Virginia to remain a key energy-producing state in the years to come.”

“President Biden and his administration are so focused on peddling their far-left policies, they can’t be bothered to take time to address real issues like the border crisis or inflation,” Inhofe said. “Their development of the social cost of greenhouse gases like methane, carbon and nitrous oxide is severely flawed, and using it to inform the energy and environmental regulatory process will increase costs on American families. I am glad to join Sen. Lankford in introducing legislation which prevents the Executive Branch from using this flawed metric to thwart the needed construction of energy infrastructure like natural gas pipelines and energy export projects around the nation.”

“The social cost of carbon is an arbitrary and inconsistent metric. It is being used to justify the Biden Administration’s radical climate agenda and has already been changed multiple times, causing major changes in the already cumbersome permitting process. The metrics have become a silver bullet for fringe environmentalist groups and their friends in the administration seeking to stop energy development projects and implement overbearing regulations. The Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulation Act bars the federal government from using these analyses so projects are not held hostage by activist bureaucrats in Washington. The legislation also requires a report to Congress on the use of social cost of carbon and its related entities in order to provide additional insight into the rules and regulations promulgated by the Biden administration using these secret, capricious measurements,” said Cramer.

“The Obama-era ‘social cost’ measurement resulted in costly regulations and job losses across the energy sector. Now, President Biden is continuing his war against American energy by reinstating this arbitrary metric,” said Cotton. “Our bill will prohibit the use of ‘social costs’ as justification for any regulations from the EPA or FERC.”

“American energy production is being stifled due to the Biden administration using biased estimates to justify burdensome regulations. Our legislation would help ensure that energy and environmental regulations are based on factual scientific standards rather than the social cost of carbon, a subjective metric which lacks oversight and transparency and is used to hide the true economic costs of a regulation,” said Hoeven.

“Montanans are worried about heating their homes and filling up their tanks—not the ‘social cost’ of energy. We need to be unleashing made in America energy, not subjecting producers to the woke whims of the radical green Left,” said Daines.

“My home state of Wyoming is the largest net energy exporter in the United States, and the Biden Administration using the ‘social cost of carbon’ in setting regulations is crippling to not only Wyoming, but our entire country,” said Lummis. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act to prevent President Biden from using this misguided metric in determining the costs and benefits of proposed regulatory action.”

“Energy and environmental regulations must have a basis in scientific fact, not hypothetical social costs based on far-left political priorities,” said Barrasso. “This important bill will ensure no administration can use flawed social cost metrics to justify harmful regulations aimed at crippling American energy production.”

“This Administration will use any tool at their disposal in their relentless and damaging war against American energy. Bogus emergency declarations, phony greenhouse gas metrics like the ‘social cost of carbon,’ nothing is off the table,” said Marshall. “The pain Americans are feeling at the pump and when they pay their electricity bills is real. President Biden is not serious about tackling inflation, so it is up to Congress to act. Stopping destructive regulations needs to be at the top of our list.”

These social cost of greenhouse gas metrics are theoretical measurements to try to put a price or economic impact on emissions. The measurement theories have been used in the federal government to determine the economic impact of potential federal regulations, even though they are unscientific and can result in more burdensome regulations. The bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from using the social cost of carbon, social cost of methane, and social cost of nitrous oxide as rationales for their regulations. 


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