A federal court decision could force the Obama administration's "incalculable" arithmetic for gauging the effects of climate change on everything from new shopping malls to roads and bridges, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee said Friday.
"This ruling sets a dangerous precedent," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah. "We intend to conduct further oversight and will work to rein in this audacious abuse of executive authority."
The ruling came down from the 7th Circuit of Appeals in Chicago in standing by the Department of Energy's appliance regulations for large commercial walk-in refrigerators. Appliance manufacturers had sued the agency for costly and overly stringent regulations without providing them with the basis of the rules.
The court also upheld the Obama administration's metric for gauging the effect of climate change, called the Social Cost of Carbon, which has been a sticking point for Republicans. The cost metric is controversial because the basis for it is seen as constantly changing, while the White House keeps the process for changing it under wraps. It is used to justify all energy-related regulations, especially those under the president's broad climate change agenda.
The appeals court justified the metric's use, despite industry arguments against it.
"This case marks the beginning of the growing fury of litigation spurred by this harmful and illogical policy," Bishop said.
"The social cost of carbon was unilaterally inserted into the federal regulatory framework," Bishop said. "Virtually any economic activity with a federal nexus — projects as harmless as the construction of a local shopping mall to energy development and transportation infrastructure — is now weighed down by subjective interpretation, incalculable analysis and infinite delay."