FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2009
CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384
The Broken Record for April 22:
Debunking Dirty Energy's Defenders
Washington, D.C.—Today's House Energy & Commerce hearings on the Waxman-Markey clean energy jobs plan, officially called the American Clean Energy & Security Act, heard testimony from administration officials, business and environmental leaders, and other experts. As expected, dirty energy's defenders on the committee proved their willingness to say just about anything to try and derail this clean energy jobs plan, including long-discredited attacks on the science of global warming and the economic impacts of clean energy legislation. Please check out The Broken Record Project's liveblog (www.sierraclub.org/compass) for an almost minute-by-minute account of today's hearing. Here are some of the most egregious examples of lies, dishonesty, and scare tactics from today's hearing:
- Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) Says Clean Energy Jobs Plan is Worse than Wars, Terrorist Attacks: An angry Rep. Shimkus denounced the bill as the "biggest assault on freedom and democracy" that he's lived through. He went on to say it was worse than both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
- Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) Attacked Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 Because He Claimed They Hurt Peabody Coal, While Ignoring Hundreds of Billions in Economic Benefits: A 1999 EPA report to Congress on the costs and benefits of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 estimated the net economic benefits between 1990 and 2010 from the criteria pollutant reductions in the bill were $510 billion, but could be as much as $1.4 trillion. The bill's Title VI, dealing with stratospheric ozone, was estimated to have an additional net economic benefit of approximately $473 billion.
- Conservatives Attack Economic Impacts of Bill, Admit to Not Reading Economic Analysis of Bill: Most conservatives repeated discredited attacks centered on the supposed negative economic impacts of the bill, while ignoring EPA's freshly released economic analysis of the bill. Two of these Members, Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) admitted that they had not even looked EPA's economic analysis of the bill, which calculated costs of between 27 to 38 cents per day for the average American. And even this estimate doesn't account for the investments in energy efficiency that will further lower the costs of the bill—even leading to net gains on the part of consumers by 2030, as a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists demonstrates. Even EPA Administrator Jackson said today that EPA's analyses are conservative and tend to overestimate the costs. Rep. Walden's attack was particularly hypocritical, as he chided Chu, Jackson, and Transportation Secretary LaHood for not reading the entirety of the 450+ page draft bill, while the executive summary of the EPA analysis he failed to read ran a mere 9 pages, with the full analysis topping out at a relatively short 43 pages.
- Rep. Whitfield (R-KY) Cited Widely Discredited Spanish Green Jobs "Study" Written by Author Tied to ExxonMobil, Group at Center of Denialist Machine: The "study" claims clean energy jobs only come at the cost of other jobs and questioned government investments in creating them. As the Wall Street Journal noted when the study was released, "[it] doesn't actually identify those jobs allegedly destroyed by renewable-energy spending." Furthermore, the study's author is associated with a think-tank that has received more than $170,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. He was also invited to speak at the Heartland Institute's widely-mocked climate change denial conference held earlier this year in New York City.
- Rep. Barton (R-TX) Argued with Administrator Jackson about Causes of Global Warming and with Sec. Chu about Plate Tectonics: Barton continued his endless war on the science of global warming, specifically attacking the EPA's recent "endangerment finding." That finding called the science behind manmade global warming "overwhelming and compelling." Barton then proceeded to argue with Dr. Chu about other basic scientific principles, saying that since the presence of hydrocarbons in Alaska was not the result of "a big pipeline that we've created from Texas and shipped it up there and put it under ground so we can now pump it up," it must proof of his theory of natural climactic variations causing global temperature changes in now-colder Alaska. Dr. Chu gently reminded Rep. Barton that owing to plate tectonics, Alaska had not always been in its current geographical position relative to the Arctic.
- Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) Attacks Dr. Chu for Pointing Out Dangers Presented to California Agriculture by Warming, Blamed Endangered Species Act, Enviromentalists Instead: Rep. Radanovich, who represents the agriculturally vital Central Valley of California, said the biggest threat to California agriculture was the "runaway locomotive" of the Endangered Species Act and the supposed costs that a clean energy plan would impose on his constituents. He also dismissed Administrator Jackson's attempts to rebut his use of the widely-discredited conservative contention that the bill would impose costs of $3,100 per family, claiming that the views of the study's author about his own study were merely "opinion." He attacked Dr. Chu for telling the Los Angeles Times that warming could mean "no more agriculture" in California by century's end. Radanovich then went to say California was suffering more from "environmental alarmism than global warming."
- Representative Lee Terry (R-NE) Pushed Discredited "Cow Tax" Argument: Rep. Terry suggested that EPA's actions and this plan could result in regulations concerning the methane admitted by livestock. Jackson has previously dismissed such scare tactics in the Wall Street Journal and once again tried to disabuse Rep. Terry of the "ridiculous notions of EPA regulating cows or taxing cows."
- Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) Attacked the Obama Administration for Removing General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and Demanding a Revised Turnaround Plan: Rep. Rogers defended Wagoner's tenure at GM and angrily denounced the administration's requirement for a new turnaround plan before GM is able to receive billions more in taxpayer funds.
- Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) Attacked the Causes, Science of Global Warming: Burgess stated that he would "stipulate that warming is happening....but we haven't seen the smoking gun that proves that man is responsible for the warming happening outside normal solar cycles." Dr. Chu responded that "there is very strong, compelling evidence that the lion's share" of warming is due to human activity. In yesterday's opening statements, Burgess suggested stripping the EPA of funding because of its desire to act on global warming.
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