Yet again, the Biden administration proposes rules that ensure lawyers win, big existing firms win, and compliance bureaucrats win. And at the same time, consumers lose, and small businesses and startups lose.
This time it’s about job-killing, Green New Deal edicts — rules that will make everything more expensive, just as families are battered with record inflation.
As The Washington Post reports, “The proposed rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission, released Monday, would mandate for the first time that hundreds of businesses report their planet-warming emissions in a standardized way. All firms would be required to disclose the emissions they generate at their facilities, and larger businesses would need to have these numbers vetted by an independent auditing firm, the SEC said.”
The Post explains the legal landmine the SEC is wading into by this action.
“West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) last year threatened to sue the SEC if it forced companies to disclose environmental data, arguing in a letter that its proposal would not hold up to the ‘strict scrutiny test,’ which says laws and regulations must meet a “compelling government interest” to be constitutional.
‘West Virginia and other states will vigorously participate in the rulemaking process, and, if necessary, go to court to defend against any regulatory overreach by the SEC in the name of climate disclosures,’ Morrisey said in an emailed statement on Monday.
Business groups may also challenge whether the SEC has the authority to wade into environmental issues, said Kathleen Sgamma, head of the oil and gas industry group Western Energy Alliance. Because many climate risks are decades into the future and difficult to predict, they are not material concerns for today’s investors and therefore not something the SEC has a mandate to regulate, Sgamma said in an interview last week.”
In this next chapter of federal government abuse under Biden, The Wall Street Journal notes the legal problems with the SEC’s approach:
“The SEC claims to have ‘broad authority to promulgate disclosure requirements that are ‘necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.’ But neither securities law nor the Constitution lets the SEC mandate whatever public disclosures some investors or politicians want.
In 2015 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an SEC disclosure mandate for so-called conflict minerals violated the First Amendment because it compelled speech. Government can require companies to disclose information to prevent fraud or protect public health, but how does requiring companies to report greenhouse-gas emissions do either?
As a fall-back argument, the SEC claims climate disclosures ‘will promote efficiency, competition, and capital formation.’ They will do the opposite. They will saddle companies with new costs, discourage private firms from going public, and encourage some public firms to go private.”
The SEC’s move appears to be the latest executive overreach by the Biden White House, which, as Fox News reports, has lost major court battles on everything from immigration policies to the vaccine mandate. The Supreme Court in January blocked enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. In a 6-3 ruling, SCOTUS also overturned Biden’s eviction moratorium. Biden has also lost major legal battles despite trying to tear down former President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, or Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that returned migrants to Mexico as they await asylum hearings rather than allowing them to stay in the United States.
Rather than squandering time and treasure to continue to impose an arguably unconstitutional regulatory regime, why doesn’t the Biden administration work like heck to build up cleaner energy sources like nuclear? Why doesn’t Biden quit relying on dirtier sources of fuel — Venezuela, Saudi Arabia — and work to promote American oil and gas, which are cleaner? U.S. oil and gas companies are deeply invested in renewable energy — they don’t want to become extinct. Why is the Biden administration fighting to put them out of business?