Off Shore Oil Rig

FILE - This April 27, 2010 file photo shows an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the Chandeleur Islands, off the Southeastern tip of Louisiana. The Biden administration is once again pausing oil and gas leases as it appeals a judge’s ruling that higher federal estimates for the cost of greenhouse gas emissions were too burdensome for energy-producing states.

BATON ROUGE, La. - Amid ongoing court battles over oil and gas leases with Republican state attorneys general, including Louisiana’s Jeff Landry, the Biden administration is once again pausing the leases as it appeals a judge’s ruling that higher federal estimates for the cost of greenhouse gas emissions were too burdensome for energy-producing states.

In a court filing Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice appealed a Feb. 11 ruling by federal District Judge James David Cain, of Lake Charles, that said the administration’s action to raise the cost estimate of carbon emissions would unfairly increase regulatory expenses for states like Louisiana. The cost estimate, also known as the social cost of carbon, outlines the economic costs of emitting one additional ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

President Joe Biden, on his first day in office, restored the climate cost estimate to about $51 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions after the Trump administration had reduced the figure to about $7 or less per ton. The Biden administration has used the estimate to drive climate policies aimed at reducing emissions.

The Republican attorneys general filed suit in April over the increased estimate, citing fears of economic damage to their states.

The Justice Department’s Friday filing notes that oil and gas leases have stopped since the Feb. 11 ruling.

Read more on the latest appeal from our news partner The Advocate.

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