Appeals Court Grants Stay Stopping ‘Largest Power Grab in SEC History,’ Deals Major Blow to Biden Admin

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dealt a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to control everything combat climate change by granting a request from Liberty Energy to temporarily halt the implementation of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) corporate climate risk and emissions disclosure rule.

The rule, which would have required medium and large public companies to disclose climate-related risks and direct emissions data in their financial reports, has faced opposition from both sides of the political spectrum.

Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, celebrated the court’s decision, calling the rule “the largest power grab in SEC history” and expressing hope that it will be “fully annulled by the courts in coming days.” Hild emphasized the potential impact on consumers, suggesting that the rule’s implementation would have had negative consequences.

The legal challenges to the SEC’s rule have come from both sides.

A group of Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the SEC on March 6, just hours after the agency announced the final version of the rule. Environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and Earthjustice have also taken legal action against the SEC, arguing that the rule does not go far enough in addressing climate change concerns.

It is worth noting that the SEC had already scaled back its initial proposal from March 2022, which would have required companies to track and disclose emissions generated by the end use of their products and services, in addition to their direct emissions.

This compromise, however, appears to have satisfied neither the rule’s conservative opponents nor its environmental advocates.