Upton still pushing EPA myths

In a column today in the Kalamazoo Gazette, Rep. Fred Upton repeats several oft-debunked falsehoods about EPA greenhouse gas regulation.

In the column, he suggests that the agency is “attempting to grant itself new authority” to “impose a cap-and-trade agenda.”

In reality, the agency is only doing what it is required to do under the law. The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had to make an endangerment analysis of greenhouse gases. The EPA concluded that global warming caused by greenhouse gases would be harmful, which meant the agency had to regulate the gases under the Clean Air Act.

Nor will the agency’s rules in any way resemble cap-and-trade. Grist’s David Roberts explained this much more eloquently a few months ago:

EPA could have done what most economists agree is the sensible thing and established a cap-and-trade program on its own. … Of course, that would have been politically explosive too.

… Instead EPA is taking a cautious approach, getting at greenhouse gases largely through performance standards that, by the agency’s own avowal, will mostly require upgrades in efficiency (which often as not will make money for participating facilities).

In short, given its legal mandate to address greenhouse gases, EPA is acting with about as much caution and restraint as it possibly can, short of doing what the Bush administration did, which was dissemble and delay.

Upton also repeatedly links EPA greenhouse gas rules to rising gasoline prices, a claim which was debunked by PolitiFact earlier this month:

There’s no proof that the law would actually stop gas prices from rising. The added regulations now being planned may hamper U.S. refiners, but the international free market could just as easily end up keeping refining costs low. And it’s hardly assured that any changes in refining costs — up or down — will influence gasoline prices, which are subject to a wide array of influences. We find their claim False.

Roberts also addressed this question, and made a salient prediction:

Upton said the other day that blocking regulations on electric power plants would lower the price of gasoline, which Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) rightly called “one of the most pathetically, economically invalid arguments ever made in human history.” Its pathetic invalidity will not stop Upton from saying it over and over again, and the press from dutifully passing it on.

(Emphasis mine.)

Photo by republicanconference via Creative Commons

One thought on “Upton still pushing EPA myths

  1. A check of the major oil companies’ net profits for the last two to three years may suggest an important factor in rising gas prices. ExxonMobil, for one, keeps breaking records, such as the largest profit by any corporation in history. When other factors, such as Mideast unrest, cause prices to rise, oil companies don’t seem to adjust their profits downward to make things easier on consumers. Upton’s charges are the proverbial red herring.