Yesterday, I did a post explaining the EPA's plans to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from the nation's biggest polluters. The comments rolled in accusing me of being a pro-Big Brother socialist who hated freedom--just for explaining the facts. I was a bit surprised, I have to say. The EPA is an agency that was instated by Nixon to keep Americans healthy and prevent excess pollution, after all--what's so nefarious about keeping the environment clean and people healthy? But then, I saw this. And it all made sense. The organization behind the tea party movement, Americans for Prosperity, has been sending out misinformation-laden propaganda (what other kind is there?!) to its members. Here's the group's claim:This is the message that AFP is spreading, and it's asking its followers to send it to Congress in one of those one-size-fits-all email petitions:
The Environmental Protection Agency is an out-of-control bureaucracy attempting an unprecedented power-grab, seeking to regulate every aspect of our lives and take control of the U.S. economy by shoehorning greenhouse gas regulation into the 1970 Clean Air Act. There is no imaginable worse tool than the Clean Air Act, whose old fashioned, command-and-control regulations would devastate the United States economy.Yes, by regulating huge companies that pollute 25,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the EPA is seeking to regulate every aspect of our lives. Because we all have industrial sized coal-fired power plants in our backyards.
The devastating impacts of allowing EPA to continue with its proposed regulations are easy to see. It is your responsibility as a member of Congress to stop them. Not by replacing Clean Air Act regulation with another economically ruinous scheme like cap-and-trade, but with clean pre-emption that removes the threat.Yes. Charging coal and oil companies fair prices to burn polluting fossil fuels, and giving clean energy a fair chance to compete in the marketplace--creating clean jobs in the process. How devastating.
After continuing on in this vein, the pre-written message concludes: "If you do not do everything in your power to stop the EPA, I will hold you responsible for what EPA does." Oooooo. It's the sort of ultimatum-minded, "or else" mentality the tea party has become famous for, I suppose.
These paranoid charges are entirely false, and it's disturbing to see how the group plays on people's (especially its members) fears of Big Government by vilifying an agency designed to protect America's health and well being. I mean, this may be the most ridiculous statement I've ever read about the EPA: that it seeks to "regulate every aspect of our lives and take control of the U.S. economy." See again my post on the bare-bones facts of that plan, which would have limited economic impact, and would only affect massive polluting companies.
What's most disturbing is the AFP's willingness to use blatant falsehoods to stir the passions of its genuinely angry base of tea partiers--again, that's sort of what the AFP has come to be known for, I suppose, with its gross distortion of facts during the health care reform process. If the AFP really thinks the US would be better off without any agency checking corporations' pollution and working to preserve clean air and healthy living standards, then by all means, let it demonize the EPA--but using outright lies to do so is disgraceful.