Myths VS. Facts On the American Clean Energy and Security Act

MYTH: The bill will raise energy costs, imposing a hidden energy tax of $3,100 per year.

FACT: The EPA found the overall impact on the average household would be 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year)–or less than the cost of a postage stamp a day. This does not take into account the household energy costs savings from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act estimated of up to $98 per year.

Congressional Republicans requested a CBO analysis of the bill that shows an average cost around 48 cents per day for the average household in 2020 ($175 per year) — 18 times smaller than what the House GOP's been claiming for months — and still not including efficiency savings. In fact, household savings generated from greater efficiency in appliances and homes are estimated to total over $4,000 a year by 2030. [ACEEE]

Neither the EPA analysis nor the CBO analysis take into account the benefits of reducing global warming to our economy, farmers, children, and our planet.

Bottom line is that transitioning off foreign oil and creating millions of jobs will have minimal impact on average households. No wonder the St. Petersburg Times' Politifact fact”checker site calls this a “pants on fire lie” and the MIT professor cited as the source called the figure “wrong in so many ways.”

MYTH: This plan will cost jobs and stop economic growth.

FACT: This transition to clean energy is going to be a key driver for economic growth–unleashing private sector investment that will far outweigh government incentives. The measure will create millions of new American clean energy jobs that can't be shipped overseas “” whether it's installing solar panels, manufacturing wind turbines, or renovating homes for greater energy efficiency — as well as whole new industries. The clean energy jobs plan promotes building a smart grid and the production of clean electric cars. The plan includes incentives for farmers and agriculture and provisions for retooling factories — a move that will breathe new life into America's manufacturing sector and assembly lines that have been left idle by this recession. Under the EPA's analysis of the Waxman”Markey bill, the nation gross domestic product grows robustly ” from $13 trillion in 2008 to over $22 trillion in 2030, as clean energy technology is deployed and carbon pollution is reduced.

MYTH: This plan will harm manufacturing and ship jobs overseas.

FACT: This legislation will strengthen U.S. global competitiveness, helping America become the world leader in new energy technologies, while preventing American job losses to other countries. Reducing our carbon emissions will create good jobs manufacturing clean energy technologies, weatherizing and updating new energy efficient buildings, and making thousands of other products in America. A single wind turbine contains up to 400 tons of steel, along with 8,000 parts, from copper wire, gearboxes, and ball bearings to electronic controls. Jobs making these components must be created here in America. The clean energy jobs plan includes critical protection measures for American workers and businesses to prevent the shifting of jobs and pollution to other countries. Under the Waxman”Markey bill, energy”intensive, trade”exposed industries like steel will receive allowances to cover transition costs as America moves toward energy independence. The auto industry will also receive incentives to manufacture electric and other advanced technology vehicles.

MYTH: This amounts to an economic declaration of war on the Midwest.

FACT: Quite the opposite. The bill will spur a clean energy economy to reinvigorate the Midwest's battered manufacturing base and will help Midwestern consumers. More than 50 percent of the value of the pollution program is set aside to protect consumers, and the bill includes provisions designed specifically to protect consumers in states that rely largely on coal for electricity. The bill directs local electricity distribution companies, which are given permit values according to their carbon emissions, to pass along that money to consumers to protect them from rate increases on their electricity bills. And the bill provides additional consumer protections including monthly energy refunds for families in need.

The bill also contains provisions to protect the manufacturing sector of our economy from unfair competition from foreign countries and companies that refuse to deal with their carbon pollution. The bill includes help for the automobile industry to retool their facilities to build more fuel efficient vehicles. In fact, the bill creates new manufacturing job opportunities in areas hard hit by the recession and the struggles of the auto industry. This measure will build on the investments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is estimated to create nearly 160,000 new jobs in the Midwest.

MYTH: Rural Americans will be adversely impacted from higher energy prices under the bill.

FACT: This legislation also creates an opportunity for farmers and ranchers, establishing a robust carbon offsets market that would allow farmers to create and sell carbon offsets to polluting entities. Farmers would be paid for their land stewardship efforts — planting trees, preserving existing forests, no”till farming and other efforts that reduce global warming emissions. A viable carbon offsets market — one that rewards farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for stewardship activities — has the potential to play a very important role in helping America address climate change while providing a possible new source of revenue for landowners. The EPA has estimated the market for agriculture and other domestic offsets would be worth at least $4 billion annually through 2030.

Rural America is uniquely positioned to create the clean energy to power our economy. From wind turbines paying royalties to ranchers and farmers, to cellulosic biofuels and biomass energy, rural America's natural resources will create home”grown American energy. And these investments in rural America will avoid the steep cost of global warming to America's farmers and ranchers, with greater risk of drought, floods and lower crop yields if we do not act as good stewards of the earth.

MYTH: It is unfair for America to take action on climate change when some of the biggest polluters in the world, like China and India, are not.

FACT: America does not set its policy according to what China does. America leads. Action by the U.S. is crucial to putting pressure on China and India to become part of the world effort to address the climate crisis. One guarantee: China and India will not cap their carbon emissions unless the U.S., the largest emitter in the West, moves first. We need to enact this bill to make sure that America, and not China, becomes the leader in new energy technologies that will create millions of new jobs and be needed worldwide over the next decade. A comprehensive energy bill will unleash investments in new clean energy technologies that can be manufactured here in America, used to reduce our pollution, and exported to nations like China and India. Opponents of the bill are willing to miss this economic opportunity to be a world leader again in new energy technologies that will create whole new industries and millions of new jobs.

MYTH: Republicans claim that other House committees have not had a chance to debate energy and climate policy.

FACT: Dozens of hearings on energy and climate policy have taken place this year in committees/subcommittees in the House, including in Ways and Means (4), Science and Technology (9), Transportation (6), Foreign Affairs (1), and Agriculture (4). In addition, we have held 20 or more hearings and markup sessions in the Energy and Commerce Committee and in the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

MYTH: Republicans claim that NOT ONE small business had weighed in on energy and climate legislation.

FACT: This Spring, more than 22,000 small business owners delivered a petition to Congress calling for action on energy and climate.

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