Setting the Record Straight on the Chamber of Commerce’s Report

Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report that makes unfounded assumptions about the EPA’s upcoming proposal for commonsense standards to cut the harmful carbon pollution from power plants.

First, before EPA even put pen to paper to draft the proposed standards, we gathered an unprecedented amount of input and advice through hundreds of meetings with hundreds of groups—including many members of the Chamber.  That input fed into the draft proposal we’ll release on June 2, and we plan to kick off a second phase of engagement as we work through the draft and get to a reasonable, meaningful final rule.

Second—the Chamber’s report is nothing more than irresponsible speculation based on guesses of what our draft proposal will be.  Just to be clear—it’s not out yet. I strongly suggest that folks read the proposal before they cry the sky is falling.

Third, there are some major gaps in the numbers touted by the Chamber:

The Chamber report assumes that States would need to require carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) for new natural gas plants to hit their goals under the proposal for existing power plants.  That’s not true.  Not even the EPA’s proposal for new power plants requires that technology for natural gas.  And EPA has indicated frequently that CCS would not be considered for existing power plants.  Given that three-fourths of the Chamber’s alleged cost estimates come from power plant construction—namely, natural gas with CCS plants—this assumption drives up the topline cost associated with this study.

EPA relies on science to protect public health and the environment—that’s our North Star.  We’ve shown over and over again that commonsense action to protect the health and safety of our families doesn’t hurt economic growth; it helps it.  As states and businesses across the country have already shown, climate action sharpens America’s competitive edge and spurs innovation. ENERGY STAR and emissions standards for the auto industry are prime examples.  With standards that will essentially double the distance our cars go on a gallon of gas, we will slash carbon pollution and spur innovation and economic growth.

Today, billions of dollars are going to rebuilding from more devastating storms, rising sea levels raise the cost of keeping our drinking water clean, and extreme heat and wildfires destroy towns and hurt local economies and businesses that depend on tourism. In 2012, we saw the 2nd costliest year in U.S. history for natural disasters. Even the strongest sectors like agriculture and recreation can’t escape the pressures of a changing climate, and they are paying the price today – the cost of not acting on climate, a cost conspicuously absent from the Chamber of Commerce report.

Unfortunately, the Chamber is using the same tired play from the same special interest playbook that is engineered to continue polluting and stall progress.  But the American people know better.

The science is clear, the risks are clear and together we will fulfill our mission to protect public health and leave our kids a safer, cleaner world—all while supporting a strong, growing economy.

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