President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently unveiled a new plan for curbing carbon emissions in America. Their plan, which is decades late and will unfold far too slowly to make a real difference, takes aim at the worst polluters in the nation: coal-fired power plants.
As expected, those with a vested interest in fossil fuels (and their pocket politicians) were not amused. Big Coal and states that make lots of money off air pollution immediately went on the attack, spewing some of the most flabbergasting misinformation we’ve heard in a while.
Here are just a few of our favorites (along with resources that cast doubt on their accuracy):
Senator John Barrasso, Republican (Wyoming): “Once again, the President has chosen to side with extreme activists instead of unemployed Americans.”
First, data released by the Mining Safety and Health Administration shows that the average number of coal mining jobs under the Obama administration is 15.3 percent higher than the average under the Bush administration. Each of the top ten coal producing states have had more mining jobs on average under the Obama administration than under the Bush administration, and nine saw higher coal mining employment in 2012 than at any point during the Bush years.
Second, renewable energy is putting thousands of Americans to work. “America’s clean energy economy created nearly 80,000 green jobs in 2013, benefiting virtually every state across the country even as looming market and policy uncertainty threaten to shrink green growth,” reports CleanTechnica.
Third, you know what really hurts unemployed Americans? Killing their unemployment benefits (which Barrasso and his GOP friends voted for, almost unanimously, just months ago).
Senator Dan Coats, Republican (Indiana): “Yet again, President Obama is trying to circumvent Congress to implement policies that the elected representatives of the American people have rejected.
Guess who gave the most money to support Senator Coats campaign in 2014? The oil and gas industry. So, who is he really “representing”?
Senator Mike Enzi, Republican (Wyoming, on May 24): “Families shouldn’t have to pay $1,200 more per year for electricity so President Obama and environmental activists can have political peace of mind.”
“Average retail electricity prices are projected to increase in the contiguous U.S. by 5.9% to 6.5% in 2020,” the EPA admits. Prices will have increased by about 3 percent by 2030, the agency added. But the EPA added that electricity prices will fall by nine percent after 2030 because of lower energy demand and increased energy efficiency further cuts consumption.
If you have a calculator handy, let’s do some simple multiplication. Let’s say your monthly energy bill is $100. That’s $1,200 per year. You know what 6.5 percent of $1,200 is? $78. That’s a far cry from from Enzi’s estimation.
Rep. Nick J. Rahall, Democrat (West Virginia): “This new regulation threatens our economy and does so with an apparent disregard for the livelihoods of our coal miners and thousands of families throughout West Virginia.”
Rahall seems to have forgotten about the scores of fatal mining accidents that have occurred in the last decade, in West Virginia alone. That doesn’t even begin to address the thousands of others who have died or been made sick because of coal waste in the water system, air pollution, and other mining related disasters. Pretty sure that’s not great for families.
Ed Whitfield, Republican (Kentucky), who chairs the House‘s Energy and Power Subcommittee. “We have already witnessed the failures and consequences of a government takeover of our health care system, and we can’t afford the same mistakes with government takeover of our energy sector.”
Seriously? You want to bring that dead horse (aka the Affordable Care Act) into this? More than nine million previously uninsured Americans have gained coverage under Obamacare, according to a review of available enrollment data obtained by the Los Angeles Times. It may not be perfect, but that’s hardly a failure. And news flash: requiring that a highly profitable industry pay for the damage it does to the environment and human health is hardly a government takeover. In fact, it’s the exact reason we have government: “to promote the general welfare” (not corporate welfare).
Suzanne Jaworowski, Director of Communications at Sunrise Coal (irony much?): “Jaworowski warned not only energy prices will be effected but food costs will rise as well saying ‘The cost of bread will go up and the cost of everything in-between will go up.’”
You know what’s already causing food costs to skyrocket, and will continue to do so? Climate change accelerated by Ms. Jaworoski’s dying industry.
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