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Kansas, Missouri attorneys general act to protect energy independence

Attorney General Derek Schmidt of Kansas and Eric Schmitt of Missouri have joined with other states in a letter demanding that the federal government abandon ill-defined “social cost” standards of carbon emissions when determining whether to approve new natural gas or other energy pipelines.

The two join their GOP peers arguing that the government’s action is “fatally flawed” and that federal law neither mandates nor allows it. Many say that the federal guidelines are so poorly written and open-ended, that government agencies could interpret them in any way they wanted, circumventing local and state laws and even federal laws already on the books.

“Although the ‘public interest’ is central to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s responsibilities, Congress did not define it — but Congress certainly never stated that it was an invitation to FERC to dictate a global warming policy for the United States,” the letter says.

Schmitt took the lead on writing the comments to FERC and in a press release issued Tuesday said he would “continue to push back against President Biden’s expansion of federal regulations and overreach.”

“Under the social cost of carbon analysis, private companies who want to build interstate natural gas pipelines to provide cheap, affordable energy to Missourians and those across the country would be subject to greater regulations and red tape,” Schmitt said,

Schmitt is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri to replace Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who will not seek another term. He has been active in suing the new Biden administration and already has filed a lawsuit concerning the social cost of carbon. The steady stream of lawsuits have become the centerpiece of his campaign.

Schmidt is running in the Republican primary for Kansas governor against former Gov. Jeff Colyer, who took office when Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback resigned to take a job in the Trump administration. Colyer lost the Republican primary to Kris Kobach. Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, defeated Kobach in the general election in 2018.

Biden issued an executive order in January to review executive orders taken under the Trump administration that conflict with Biden’s goals surrounding public health and the environment, restore national monuments the Trump administration shrunk, pause a Trump-era oil drilling program, revoke the Keystone-XL pipeline’s permit and evaluate the social cost of carbon and how it should be applied to federal policy.

In March, the Biden administration pegged that cost at $51 per ton of carbon, according to “Scientific American. Under the Trump administration, it was as low as $1.

After President Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline shortly after being inaugurated, critics pointed out that oil needs to be transported somehow. They raised the alarm that oil and gas products would be shipped over the nation’s highways and railways instead of underground, increasing the risk to the public.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice