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The Realities of the Clean Air Act

12:38 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

Even as environmental safeguards come under attack like never before, a recent EPA study shows that the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments brings $26 of benefits for every $ 1 in costs. That’s more than $2 trillion in direct benefits by 2020.

For example, in 2010 alone the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than:
• 160,000 cases of premature death
• 130,000 heart attacks
• 13 million lost work days
• 1.7 million asthma attacks1
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We Must Put Out Newt Gingrich’s Wildfire Before It Starts

5:01 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

Newt Gingrich is at it again.  In an attempt to “one up” his fellow Tea-Party political climbers, “Contract on America” (COA) Newt has declared that Congress should abolish the EPA.  Actually, maybe I am not being fair.  He wants to disband the agency, ripping out the “protection” part of the EPA’s mission, and replace it with a shiny new teeny-tiny organization that is going to work closely with corporate polluters.  COA Newt wants the new entity to focus on science (that he doesn’t seem to believe in) and technology (that he wants to cut spending for).  What hypocrisy!  He goes on to point out his belief that “the EPA is basically opposing things.”  You mean, things like dirty air, COA Newt?  I am pretty happy that their goal is still protection.  I just wish we had an agency that could protect us from these kinds of ridiculous ideas.

The Environmental PROTECTION Agency PROTECTS my family.  The fundamental laws it enforces keep our water drinkable, swimmable, and fishable.  EPA has reduced the number of asthma visits to emergency rooms by our kids (and still has a ways to go).  EPA provides small communities low-interest loans to update their sewers and water infrastructure.  EPA cleans up toxic waste dumps when the corporate polluters (you know, the ones COA New wants to partner with) abandon them – leaving communities  — often the poorest — in crisis.  COA Newt might want to paint EPA scientists as a bunch of bureaucratic tree huggers but make no mistake – this agency is all about the health of your family.
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Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: AK-Senate

12:33 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

This is the thirty-fifth article in a continuing series by the NRDC Action Fund on the environmental stances of political candidates in key races around the country.

All eyes turned to Alaska this summer when incumbent Lisa Murkowski was defeated in the Republican primary by challenger Joe Miller, an attorney and veteran endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Murkowski, who has been in the Senate since 2002 (when she was appointed by her father, then the Governor), has decided to mount a write-in campaign to retain her seat, leading to a three-way race between her, Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, the Mayor of Sitka.

Following the primary, some political observers tried to attribute Murkowski’s defeat to her acknowledgment that climate change is a problem. But the facts didn’t bear this out. For one thing, as the Action Fund has previously written, Murkowski has been far from an environmental champion in the Senate. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gives her an 18% career rating, and in June, she led an attempt to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific finding that global warming threatens our public health and welfare, the first step needed to regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Miller, though, goes even further. On his website, Miller writes that global warming “may not even exist.” Tell that to the National Academy of Sciences, our foremost scientific authority, which recently concluded, “Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”

McAdams, on the other hand, has been mostly saying the right things about clean energy and climate issues on the campaign trail. On his website, he decries the “political grandstanding and partisan rhetoric” that has stalled progress on comprehensive energy legislation. In an interview with Mother Jones, he said it was Murkowski’s opposition to raising the liability cap on oil spills in the wake of the Gulf disaster that inspired him to run for the Senate. Remembering the effects of the Valdez spill on his home state and the many “who have still not been made whole,” McAdams said, “I was outraged. To say that $75 million is enough to cover the claims, cover the cost of lives that cannot be valued or monetized is outrageous.” And in a DailyKos post McAdams writes:

“I would not support Congress acting to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its greenhouse gas emission authority. Alaska is on the front lines of climate change from warming permafrost, receding glaciers and communities literally falling into the ocean. Also, the same pollutants causing climate change are causing our oceans to become more acidic, threatening our fisheries. I am the only candidate in the Alaska’s U.S. Senate race putting new ideas on the table to increase our nation’s energy security through increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, while responsibly developing our domestic oil and gas resources. I see Alaska as key to a renewable future for America: we have vast untapped renewable resources like tidal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind. We have massive reserves of traditional sources of energy, like oil and natural gas, which must be brought to market while we transition to a more sustainable future.”

The Alaskan race offers voters clear choices on the environmental stands of the candidates.

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: NH-Senate

12:10 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

This is the thirty-fourth article in a continuing series by the NRDC Action Fund on the environmental stances of candidates in key races around the country.

New Hampshire politics can be quirky, especially in its first-in-the-nation presidential primaries. In 1992, Pat Buchanan won a surprising 37% of the Republican vote, and in 2000, John McCain overtook George W. Bush. But New Hampshire was part of a national trend in 2008 when Jeanne Shaheen became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from New Hampshire in more than 30 years. And this year, New Hampshire has a critical race for its other Senate seat. Next week, Rep. Paul Hodes (D), a Representative who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District, and former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R), a former state Attorney General, will face off to replace retiring Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican.

In his first term in Congress, Hodes has already proven to be a consistent vote for clean energy and the environment. In 2009, he earned a 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). This includes voting for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), the first comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that has ever passed by a chamber of Congress. Following the vote, Hodes said in a statement:

“Today, we began rebuilding our economy by facing a major challenge: how we power our economy. This is no small task, but it is vital —how we make and use energy affects our jobs, the air we breathe, and the security of our nation.

That is why I was proud to support an historic green jobs and American energy independence bill. It will reduce carbon emissions by 83% by the year 2050, it will create millions of jobs in domestic energy industries, and it will help end the dependence on foreign oil that endangers our national security.

We cannot continue our failed energy policy that costs American families so much, pollutes our environment, and funds our enemies. This plan will create over 7600 new green collar jobs right here in New Hampshire as we invest in locally produced energy. I have been a strong proponent of alternative energy that is plentiful throughout New Hampshire like wind, solar and wood pellets. I introduced and passed the first ever federal biomass tax credit for wood pellet stoves that help heat homes and power communities. By investing in locally produced alternative energies like wood pellets, we can create green collar jobs in New Hampshire and bring new industry to economically distressed communities throughout the North Country.”

On the campaign trail, Hodes has continued to advocate for clean energy and environmental policies, writing on his website, “We must create a 21st century energy policy that will use alternative forms of energy to power our economy, create new green collar jobs and end our dependence on foreign oil.” Recognizing his strong positions on environmental issues, Hodes’ campaign has been endorsed by LCV. As LCV President Gene Karpinski said in their endorsement, “LCV Action Fund is proud to endorse Congressman Paul Hodes for U.S. Senate because he understands that instead of spending billions on foreign oil, we should be investing in clean, secure energy sources right here in America. He has been a champion in the U.S. House and we know as senator he will add to bipartisan efforts to implement clean energy and climate policies that will make America more energy independent, reduce harmful carbon pollution and bring clean energy jobs to New Hampshire.”

Ayotte, in sharp contrast, has mapped out a clearly anti-environmental stand on clean energy and climate change issues, contradicting her own earlier stands. On her website, she expresses support for an energy policy that embraces coal and oil as well as natural gas and nuclear energy. And she says she opposes cap and trade legislation, inaccurately calling it a “tax on Granite State families at a time when they can afford it least.” Contrary to her claim, according to collaborative researchers at Yale University, the University of Illinois, and the University of California climate legislation like ACES would strengthen New Hampshire’s economy, creating new jobs and increasing household incomes.

Worst of all, Ayotte denies the overwhelming science of global warming. This is a reversal of her previous statements on clean energy and climate issues. A little more than a year ago, Ayotte was saying that global warming is a ‘real issue’ and that human activity could have contributed to higher temperatures.

Voters in New Hampshire have a clear choice on clean energy and protecting the environment.

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and for the voters of specific states, to be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

Election 2010: The China Syndrome

3:47 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

By Rob Perks

Today’s Washington Post points out how China is being cast by many congressional candidates as the boogeyman of the mid-term elections. In particular, anxiety over that country’s growing economic dominance has manifested itself on the campaign trail. Currently, 250 ads targeting China are being aired by both Democrats and Republicans in dozens of the most competitive races across the country.

“More than a spasm of political season piling-on, the ads underscore a broader shift in American society toward a more fearful view of China,” the article notes. “Inspired by China’s rise and a perceived fall in the standing of the United States, the ads have historical parallels to the American reaction to Japan in the 1980s and to the Soviet threat.”

On the issue of clean energy, China seems like fair game. After all, experts agree that when it comes to that country’s push to become the world’s leader on renewable energy technologies, the Chinese are eating America’s lunch. “It is heartbreaking to think that China would be the leader in clean-energy technology because we can’t get our act together,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview last week with historian Michael Beschloss. “If we stand on the sidelines and just complain and try to oppose whatever China is doing . . . and don’t deal with our own issues at home,” she added, “I don’t know what the future will hold.”

Throughout our nation’s history, American ingenuity has been tied directly to our economic prosperity. That makes it all the more frustrating that during our country’s present fiscal crisis some politicians are all too eager to thwart economic opportunities offered by clean energy jobs.

Indeed, by opposing comprehensive energy and climate legislation that could create 1.9 million jobs and help make American firms competitive in the growing global clean energy economy, some candidates are willing to set back the creation of new jobs – ensuring that other countries economies’ are better positioned to capitalize on the growing clean energy sector. This means more jobs for China, which is investing in clean energy and developing expertise in clean energy technologies.

This is why NRDC Action Fund and our partner BlueGreen Alliance have launched an advertising initiative. Our nation-wide campaign this election cycle supports clean energy policies and raises awareness about their implications.

We’re running ads right now against anti-environmental candidates in a number of places, including: Phil Hare (IL-17), Baron Hill (IN-9), Steve Kagan (WI-8), Mark Schauer (MI-7), Zach Space (OH-18), and Tim Walz (MN-1).

You can see a copy of the ad here.

In addition to the jobs issue, the candidates should not ignore the national security implications of climate change and how our country compares to China in this regard. The U.S. military now recognizes climate change as a security “threat multiplier” and, as a result, federal spending is being reallocated for climate security. Between FY 2008 and FY 2011 the federal climate change budget has more than doubled, from $7.4 billion to $18.1 billion. In 2008, the U.S. budgeted $94 on tools of traditional military force for every dollar spent on climate security. That ratio will narrow to $41 to $1 in the 2011 fiscal year.

This is progress, obviously. But a shift of one percent of the military budget does not come close to bringing climate security investment in line with the magnitude of the threat. China’s performance in this regard is far superior. Estimates are that China spends between $2 and $3 on its military for each $1 it spends on climate. In other words, China spends one-sixth as much as the United States does on military security – and twice as much on climate security.

Voters to Washington: Clean Up Your Act…and End This Era of Gridlock

3:35 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

By Ed Chen

All the polls presage an election next week in which Americans vent their anger and frustrations over the state of our economy by punishing the ruling party for policies they believe are to blame.

That gloomy prospect for Democrats is no surprise. With one in ten Americans unable to find work, and millions more struggling to stay in their homes, the ruling party is bound to face voter backlash. That also would be in keeping with historic trends: the party in control of Congress generally suffers big losses in the first mid-term elections after the election of a president of the same party.

But a closer look at recent polls suggests that voters on Tuesday also will be sending a very different message — a positive one: They strongly support smart, clean energy policies that promote job creation and foster 21st-Century prosperity as well as efforts to combat climate change.

NRDC Action Fund Poll
Civil Society Institute Survey
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Poll
Benenson Strategy Group Poll
New York Times/CBS News Poll
Additional Polling Data from other News Sources…

Commentary on Polling Data

Energy and the Election, Part 1: The Name Game
Energy and the Election, Part 2: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
• Politics of Clean Energy, Part 3: Leaders on Clean Energy Lead in Their Races

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported Wednesday that 87 percent of Americans favor legislation to require utilities to produce more energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind. And 78 percent favor tougher energy efficiency standards.

Such sentiments also show up in localities around the country. In more than two dozen tight congressional races, Americans are almost 20 percentage points more likely to vote for the candidate who supports clean energy legislation, according to a series of NRDC Action Fund polls released last week.

That mindset undoubtedly will lead voters to re-elect the vast majority of House members who voted for last year’s historic American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). For poll after poll shows that Americans embrace a clean energy agenda that puts our neighbors back to work, makes our country more secure and creates a healthier future for our children.

And by every poll, California voters will overwhelmingly defeat Proposition 23, a Big Oil-sponsored initiative designed to gut the country’s first-in-the-nation climate change law.

So even before voters cast their ballots, their message to Washington already is resoundingly clear: on clean energy issues and the urgent need to end global warming, the era of gridlock is over.

Chen is the federal communications director at the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund. He spent most of his career as a Washington-based political reporter, first at the Los Angeles Times and, more recently, at Bloomberg News as its senior White House correspondent. From 2009-2010, he was president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: CT-Senate

6:04 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

This is the twenty-ninth article in a continuing series by the NRDC Action Fund on the environmental stances of candidates in key races around the country.

Connecticut leans Democratic – the state legislature, all five Congressional Districts and both Senate seats are currently occupied by Democrats (Joe Lieberman is a former Democrat, who ran as an Independent in 2006) – but that hasn’t led to an uncompetitive or uninteresting race to replace retiring Senator Chris Dodd. Though, perhaps, drama should be expected when one of the nominees is the former CEO of the World Wresting Entertainment Linda McMahon. McMahon is a political neophyte facing Democrat Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s Attorney General since 1991, in the race to succeed Dodd. As the Connecticut Post reports, there are stark differences between the two candidates on energy and environmental issues.

Because of his strong positions on environmental issues, Blumenthal has earned endorsements from the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club and from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). John Blake, Connecticut Sierra Club Chapter Chair, said that:

Richard Blumenthal has worked with unfailing determination to protect the environmental quality of Connecticut… We trust he will be a strong advocate for rebuilding America’s economy and creating jobs by promoting clean energy technologies, saving Americans money through energy efficiency projects, promoting smart land use policies, restoring water protections eroded by the courts, and reducing pollution. He strongly supports assisting US industry as we move away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy economy. We expect that his environmental values will inform his future work as a Senator as strongly as they have his past work as the state’s Attorney General.

In their endorsement, the Connecticut Sierra Club lists several areas where Blumenthal exhibited environmental leadership as Attorney General including: protecting the Long Island Sound by opposing Broadwater Energy’s proposed liquefied natural gas plant and the Islander East Pipeline, bringing numerous lawsuits to prevent illegal dumping of hazardous waste, and ensuring that states funds dedicated to clean energy projects are not diverted for other uses. On the campaign trail, Blumenthal has pledged to “fight to ensure that the United States leads in the global green marketplace.”

McMahon, in sharp contrast, has expressed uncertainty about the role humans have played in climate change, attacked Blumenthal for supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which is the comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation passed by the House in 2009, and has called for eliminating the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.

On her website, McMahon writes, “I oppose cap-and-trade legislation because it will increase energy costs… multiple studies report that a CO2 reduction would cost an average household $455-5,000 a year.”

And on Facebook she writes that ACES was an attempt “to force through an energy tax that would destroy on average 13,649 jobs in CT and raise electricity prices by $927.55 per household.” None of these claims is true. According to the nonpartisan experts at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), ACES would cost “about $175 per household” annually; a number which “does not include the economic benefits and other benefits of the reduction of [greenhouse gas] emissions.” CBO also found that low-income households would see a “net benefit of about $40” per year. Furthermore, researchers from the University of Illinois, Yale University, and the University of California found that ACES could potentially create as many as 16,000 new jobs in Connecticut.

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and for the voters of specific states, to be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: IL-11

11:37 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

This is the twenty-seventh article in a continuing series by the NRDC Action Fund on the environmental stances of candidates in key races around the country.

South of Chicago there’s a borderland between the city and the prairies of downstate Illinois. The 11th Congressional district encompasses much of this region, where the factories and shopping centers of the suburbs fade into rural cornfields. The district is a political boundary as well, with Chicago’s Democratic machine meeting the heavily Republican tradition of southern Illinois, which dates back to the days of Abraham Lincoln. Democrat Deborah Halvorson, former majority leader of the Illinois State Senate, is in her first term representing the 11th District. This November, she will be challenged by Air Force pilot and Iraq War veteran Adam Kinzinger.

Rep. Halvorson distinguished herself as a champion for the environment during her tenure in the Illinois Senate, earning endorsements from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Environment Illinois. In her first year in Congress, she has continued to vote the right way on environmental issues, earning a 93% rating from LCV. Last June, she voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), the first global warming bill to ever pass a chamber of Congress. Following the vote, Halvorson said in a statement, “It’s clear we need to change the direction of energy policy in this country, and this legislation will move us towards clean, renewable, home grown energy… the 11th District has a lot to gain from this bill, including potential investments in wind and biofuels.”

In sharp contrast, Adam Kinzinger has received large donations from notorious global warming deniers and corporate polluters, Koch Industries.  He has also joined their front-group’s, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), campaign against climate legislation. Largely funded by Koch, AFP works to populate a radically right-wing ideology that calls for eliminating all taxes and all environmental regulations.

On his campaign website, Kinzinger echoes AFP’s misleading rhetoric claiming that ACES will “only force industries to leave the U.S. [for] a country with far lesser or no environmental standards.” And, on his Facebook, he claims that ACES will “raise energy prices and cost millions of jobs.” According to the bipartisan experts in the Congressional Budget Office, however, ACES will only cost the average household about $175 a year. Furthermore, researchers from the University of Illinois, Yale University and the University of California found that ACES could potentially create as many as 1.9 million new jobs.

Considering that Kinzinger also says that the “United States has some of the strictest emission policies in the world,” we probably should not expect him to get all (or any) of the facts right about environmental policy.

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

Politics of Clean Energy, Part 3: Leaders on Clean Energy Lead in Their Races

4:08 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

But it’s not.  The overwhelming majority of Democrats who voted for the House clean energy bill are doing just fine.  It’s the ones who voted against it who are in more trouble. 

We can test this proposition by starting with a recent news analysis in the Wall Street Journal, which offers a version of this misleading narrative.  The paper looked at 12 close House races with Democratic incumbents and showed their pattern of voting for or against Obama on four key issues including clean energy.  The results showed an amazing symmetry:  Democrats that voted with Obama were doing poorly and those who voted against him were doing better.  The implication provides an obvious story-line for election night, with a built-in warning about the future for any surviving Democrats.  A few days later Kimberly Strassel repeated this narrative in “Cap-and-Trade Crackup” in the Wall Street Journal.

Yet facts in political matters seldom fall so neatly into place.  I wondered if the races were truly representative or whether they just happened to prove this point, so I did my own analysis and was struck by how contrary the actual facts were, especially on the issue of clean energy.

First, I took the toss up races in the Cook Report this week and evaluated how Democrats who voted on the House clean energy bill (the American Clean Energy and Security Act) were faring.  Simply put, in the tossup races there was no real relationship between the members’ votes and how they were doing politically.  Basically it was almost a coin toss, with nearly half of Democrats in these tight races having voted against the bill (16 of 40).  For whatever reason these Democrats were having a tough race, it wasn’t voting for the clean energy bill.  If anything, the overall numbers suggested that backing the bill was generally good for Democrats insofar as over four-fifths (83%) of the Democrats that voted for the bill are now favored in their races while less than half of the Democrats (46%) who had voted against it are favored. 

In fact, a recent series of polls by the NRDC Action Fund in 23 closely contested congressional districts shows support for clean energy legislation by a wide margin, even when both sides of the argument are presented.  This includes races in coal states such as Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  And why not when the potential for clean energy job creation is so great in those states?  This is one reason the national polling in support of clean energy legislation has been so persistently positive for the last year, despite the onslaught of opposition money and misleading industry statements, and even if you use the jargon term, “cap-and-trade.”

I’m not saying that the bill was popular everywhere or an easy sell in every district.  However, I am definitely saying that the conservatives’ proposition that the bill was a universally unpopular measure, and that it only made sense for Democrats in swing districts to vote against it, is not supported by the evidence and never has been.    

In this analysis, the clean energy vote in the House seems to have helped more Democrats than it hurt, and certainly can’t be blamed for the large number of Democratic toss up races.  In fact, if the supporters of the legislation went out and sold the virtues of backing the clean energy bill, they would probably find the American people would give them positive credit for associating with it.  This would be a much better strategy than just accepting the conservative narrative about what a hard vote it was, and then wondering how to hide from having done the right thing.

Energy and the Election, Part 2: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by nrdcactionfund

Recently the NRDC Action Fund polled 23 competitive races for the U.S. House of Representatives and found widespread support for passing clean energy legislation. It’s no wonder, given the potential for jobs in these places. (See chart at end of blog for state-by-state job growth potential in states where competitive races occur.)

The potential for new jobs from clean energy legislation is staggering, up to nearly two million over the next decade. This by itself won’t solve the current unemployment problem and won’t happen right away, but it moves in the right direction. And this legislation has the added benefits of cutting the amount of money we send to other countries for foreign oil by two trillion dollars and the amount of dangerous carbon pollution we produce by two billion tons by 2020. It’s a dramatic package altogether.

But don’t take the word of the NRDC Action Fund for it. It’s mainly because of the job creating potential that groups such as American Businesses for Clean Energy, a coalition of over 6,000 businesses including Nike and Alcoa, have endorsed congressional action on clean energy legislation. Labor groups such as the Blue-Green Alliance, which includes the steelworkers and boilermakers unions, have also thrown its support behind legislation.

Numerous other studies from independent and academic sources set out a range of estimates for the job creation potential of clean energy legislation, but all agree it’s significant. A study by the University of California analyzed the job-creating potential of clean energy legislation and found that the U.S. stands to gain 918,000 to 1.9 million jobs by 2020. Another study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that comprehensive clean energy legislation would result in an average increase of 203,000 jobs annually through 2020.

It’s sad but true that another area of job creation from the legislation is the industry-sponsored misinformation business, which has spent millions of dollars to achieve this state of paralysis in the Senate. Using a typical tactic for them, industry trade groups and the conservative think tanks the finance have attacked the clean energy bill by cranking out faux studies with discredited methodologies. Their favorite (though false) tagline for the legislation is “job-killing energy tax.”

We heard the same false expressions from many of the same groups two decades ago when Congress passed the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. They argued that we couldn’t afford clean air, that legislation would cost too much, and that it wouldn’t save enough lives to be worth it. Yet the Clean Air Act has turned out to be one of the most successful and popular pieces of environmental legislation ever, as I noted in testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology. Even the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the George W. Bush White House said that the benefits of the Clean Air Act the previous ten years had far outpaced the costs, by up to $545 billion. In fact the benefits were twelve times higher than the costs (measured as a mean of the range of estimates), an astonishing ratio. To repeat, it was the Bush administration OMB saying that!

Times are truly tough economically. Oddly, it turns out that some politicians, unlike most Americans, believe the best way to keep their jobs is to not do them. Yet national polling shows persistent support by the American people for passing clean energy legislation. It’s no wonder, such legislation has the potential to create millions of new jobs in America. If it saves the jobs of some politicians who did the right thing by voting for it, that’s ok too.