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Underhanded Tactics? That’s Business-as-Usual for the U.S. Chamber

04 Aug 2014  |   Andrew Seifter

Tags: Clean Energy, Clean Air

Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took a brief timeout from their efforts to kill the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to brag.  They gloated about a Denver CBS affiliate’s piece regarding their  since-debunked study warning that the EPA proposal would lead to economic catastrophe. This is just the latest example of how the U.S. Chamber has engaged in underhanded tactics in their efforts to kill the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and continues to do so.

Despite the U.S. Chamber claiming that the economic conclusions in their study, released just days before the EPA announced its proposal, were a best guess of the “potential” new carbon regulations, the Chamber has continued to promote its now discredited study and its baked numbers.

In fact, the now debunked report is still on the Chamber's website, along with the press release asserting that the study applies to the EPA's actual plan.

In its opening sentence, the U.S. Chamber’s press release states:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will cost America’s economy over $50 billion a year between now and 2030, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

Ironically, the release also includes the following quote from Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Energy Institute: 

"Americans deserve to have an accurate picture of the costs and benefits associated with the administration's plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through unprecedented and aggressive EPA regulations." 

If the Chamber was actually serious about ensuring that the public deserved an accurate picture of the costs and benefits of the administration plan, then why hasn’t the Chamber publicly rebutted any of their allies who have cited their discredited study after it became clear it does not in fact apply to the EPA’s actual plan?  And why does the Chamber continue to facilitate the spread of misinformation by amplifying it?

In a June 6th Meet the Press segment, Karen Harbert made dire predictions about the EPA plan as the Chamber study’s false figures ran across the screen. As the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Pete Altman noted, a Washington Post Fact Checker article debunking the Chamber study “hasn't stopped the US Chamber's Karen Harbert from continuing to peddle the claims from this debunked study, more than a week after the Post Pinocchioed it.” 

Additionally, on June 4th, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy put out a tweet that linked to an op-ed citing their study.

The Chamber's Energy Institute also republished a June 6 column by the Wyoming Business Journal's Mark Wilcox in which Wilcox wrote:

Nationally, the [Institute for 21st Century Energy] said the expected rule – which some say are being promulgated through the EPA to bypass Congress – would siphon $816 billion out of the U.S. gross domestic product by 2030. That’s a cost of $51 billion per year. Meanwhile, electricity prices are likely to jump $17 billion per year, dropping household income faster than prices rise at about $36 billion per year. And 3.6 million fewer jobs, the study claims, will be available through 2030 as a result of the regulations.

That’s at least three examples and counting of the U.S. Chamber promoting false statistics from their report after it became clear that those figures do not apply to the EPA’s plan. And that is without even addressing the convenient timing of releasing their report just days before the EPA was due to announce their actual plan.

So make no mistake, engaging in underhanded tactics is business-as-usual for the U.S. Chamber, especially when it comes to environmental protections.

(Photograph came from the flikr account dé.wé.)

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