Business Coalition Announces Massive Offensive Against Environmental Protections

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As the Obama administration begins to take action to rein in the emissions from the dirty energy industry, big business groups all over the country have announced that they aren’t willing to stop polluting without putting up a very serious fight.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Gas Association, and 74 other big business groups said that they are banding together to fight the administration’s forthcoming power plant standards that will require carbon capture technologies to be in place at all plants.  According to The Hill, the groups said that they are planning “everything from lobbying to litigation” in order to fight the administration’s efforts.

These business groups say that they have seen “what Obama has done” to the coal industry, and fear that their industries could be targeted next.  They are also fearful that too much emphasis is being put on developing renewable energy, as The Hill points out:

American Gas Association President Dave McCurdy, a former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, said the coalition would need to protect a single-minded push toward renewable energy production.

As expected, politicians in Washington saw that the industry was pushing back, so they have jumped on the bandwagon. 

A coalition of Senators, led by Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, have sent a letter to Obama, asking him to reconsider the EPA’s plans to require carbon capture technology at new and existing power plants.  The coalition consists mainly of Republicans, with the exception of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who represents the coal-dependent state of West Virginia.  Mr. Blunt has personally received more than $1.8 million in campaign money from the dirty energy industry over the course of his career. 

The Senators say that the cost of the new standards would be passed onto consumers, who would be forced to pay higher energy rates as a result.  The combined profits of the oil, coal, and gas industries in both the U.S. and Canada for 2012 was $271 billion, so they should easily be able to afford the technology without having to force consumers to pay more. 

The current yearly cost to American taxpayers of air pollution ranges from $19 billion to $167 billion, and the new standards being rolled out by the EPA will help to reduce those costs. 

The industry can put up a fight if they wish, but they need to be completely transparent about the fact that they believe their profits are worth more than the lives of the 200,000 people who die each year from air pollution.

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

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