Debate Over Dismissal of Greenhouse Gas Social Cost Lawsuit Against Biden Continues

The Biden Administration filed another reply memorandum in an effort to support its motion to dismiss allegations from thirteen states contesting Biden’s policies for setting a social cost for greenhouse gas emissions in an Eastern District of Missouri lawsuit. 

The defendant initially asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed in early June, arguing that the plaintiffs’ claims did not have merit and that the state attorneys general had not correctly understood the executive order they contested in their complaint. The executive order allows for a working group to be created to determine what cost the Biden Administration should set for greenhouse gas emissions. 

The states, led by Missouri, argued in response that they did have standing and that their claims are likely to succeed. The states have alleged that the executive order was a breach of the separation of powers clause in the constitution and that the action is speculative and would cause economic damage. 

In the present filing, the defendants presented further arguments that the plaintiffs do not have Article III standing, arguing that they “have not alleged a concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent injury-in-fact.”  They cited that the states do not yet know how the executive branch will implement the determined social cost and so allegations of injury have been based only on guesses, and will continue to be until further government action occurs. They also argued that any alleged injury could not be traced to the executive order and Biden Administration’s set social costs and could not be addressed through the lawsuit. 

Additionally, the Biden administration noted that claims have not been stated against some of the government agencies and individuals listed as defendants, and the claims are only against President Biden and the working group he appointed to determine a social cost. that the allegations from the states are not challenging a final agency action, and that the Administrative Procedure Act claims do not apply to the working group.