Chamber Still Leading the Fight to Block EPA, Climate Change Legislation

Since the Republican victories on Election Day 2010, many have said “one of the biggest losers…was the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)” which was “expected to be the target of bruising congressional attacks.” Most stories have focused on Republicans leading the fight to block the EPA, when the spotlight should really be on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber, an organization that has done more than anyone else to destroy climate legislation, spent over $32 million in 2010 to elect those Republicans and is now looking for a return on its investment.  Now the Chamber is actively supporting a bill offered by the GOP that would prevent the EPA from enforcing its Constitutional right to protect the air we breath from dangerous pollutants and further weaken the agency. 

This is just the latest in the Chamber’s execution of its anti-climate agenda. Don’t forget that the Chamber spent millions to kill the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, causing at least 21 companies, many of which were member companies, to quit or denounce it in the process.  In August 2010, long after the Chamber-friendly Roberts Supreme Court decided that greenhouse gasses were a “pollutant,” the Chamber took up the fight once again, filing another lawsuit challenging the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gasses are harmful to humans.  And this is just the tip of the proverbial (and melting) iceberg.   

In her letter to supporters regarding the EPA vote today, the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy President Karen Harbert concludes, “There's a growing consensus that EPA's efforts are a barrier to our country's economic recovery.  Further, the EPA is superseding the power of Congress.”  Doesn’t she mean the U.S. Chamber?         

The U.S. Chamber Bankrolled A Series Of Lawsuits Against The U.S. Government To Prohibit The Regulation Of Green House Gas Emissions. According to The Hill: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday filed a lawsuit that challenges EPA’s recent rejection of its petition for reconsideration of the agency’s 2009 “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases threaten humans. The finding is the underpinning for upcoming EPA rules limiting emissions from power plants, factories and other sources that are opposed by a number of business groups.” [The Hill, 8/14/10]

The U.S. Chamber Has Spent Millions Of Dollars In Television Advertisements Against Cap-And-Trade Legislation and its Supporters. In a September 2009 editorial, the New York Times wrote that “no organization in this country has done more to undermine [cap and trade] legislation” than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  According to Climate Progress, during the 2010 election, the Chamber was “running an unprecedented $75 million campaign to unseat progressives from Congress, in defense of a big-oil agenda,” running ads attacking candidates for supporting cap-and-trade and clean energy legislation, with money from big oil companies.  In 2007, the Chamber ran and ad stating that cap-and-trade policies would “usher in a Dark Age for America.” [New York Times, 9/29/09; Climate Progress, 10/24/10; Salon, 12/4/07]

The U.S. Chamber’s Leadership Has Openly Questioned The Merits Of Man Made Global Warming. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has repeatedly and publicly challenged the merits of man-made global warming. From promoting a book that outright denies the existence of man made global warming to the Chamber’s senior energy advisor calling for a public trial on the science of global warming, the Chamber has forcefully questioned sound science. [ThinkProgress.org, 9/29/09]

Many Corporations and Local Chambers Protested the U.S. Chamber’s Extreme Climate Policy By Denouncing, Quitting the Chamber. In 2009 and 2010, several large corporations including Apple, Excelon, PNM Resources, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), and Mohawk Paper ended their memberships with the U.S. Chamber over the Chamber’s extreme anti-climate views.  Additionally, Nike quit the Chamber’s board.  Other companies like Duke Energy, Johnson and Johnson, General Electric, Alcoa, Microsoft, Pepco, Best Buy, and Cisco Systems publicly denounced the Chamber. As did local chambers like San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and many more. [U.S. Chamber Watch Website, Accessed 2/1/11]

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