US District Judge James Cain of the Western District of Louisiana issued an injunction on Friday that prevents the Biden administration from using what’s known as the “social cost of carbon” in decisions around oil and gas drilling on public land or in rules that govern fossil fuel emissions.
Agencies then weigh that economic harm in decisions that involve things like emissions regulations or fossil fuel drilling approvals.
The Biden administration had not yet used the metric in many decisions, but was expected to release an updated figure later this month.
Ten Republican-led states brought the lawsuit against the Biden administration. In his ruling, Cain sided with the states, saying the administration’s carbon cost estimate “will significantly drive up costs” while decreasing state revenue.
Cain added that his home state of Louisiana “will be directly harmed by the reduction of funds necessary to maintain the state’s coastal lands.”
The Department of Justice did not immediately return a request for comment.
Earthjustice attorney Hana Vizcarra, whose organization is not involved in the case, said she’d be surprised if the government’s attorneys didn’t appeal.
“I can’t imagine not appealing this, if I were the Justice Department,” Vizcarra said.
Vizcarra added there’s not much legal precedent to support Cain’s ruling, as a similar lawsuit brought by Republican states was tossed by an Obama-appointed federal judge in Missouri last year.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry praised the decision in a statement.
“Biden’s attempt to control the activities of the American people and the activities of every business from Main Street to Wall Street has been halted today,” Landry said. “Biden’s executive order was an attempt by the government to take over and tax the people based on winners and losers chosen by the government.”
This story has been updated with additional information.