Fact checkers blast Chamber’s $289 billion price tag for EPA rule

The Washington Post and PolitiFact are criticizing Republican lawmakers for citing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s cost estimate for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) power plant emissions rule, saying the Chamber study relied on assumptions that proved false.

Rep. Ed WhitfieldEd WhitfieldOvernight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science Lobby firm hires Republican who resigned after ethics investigation Kentucky Republican to resign from House MORE (R-Ky.), Sen. David VitterDavid VitterPoll: Republican holds 14-point lead in Louisiana Senate runoff Louisiana dishes last serving of political gumbo Trump tweets about flag burning, setting off a battle MORE (R-La.) and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus all cited the Chamber study in responding to Monday’s announcement of the EPA proposal, and House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan delays committee assignments until 2017 Lobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run MORE (R-Ohio) cited it in a blog post shortly before the announcement. It predicted a 224,000 reduction in jobs, $289 billion in higher electricity costs and $3,400 increase in power costs per family, among other impacts, from EPA’s rule.

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The Post found that the Chamber’s estimates were based on a 42 percent carbon emissions reduction, when in fact, EPA proposed only a 30 percent decrease.

Matt Letourneu, a spokesman for the Chamber, call that “a big difference … we are going to have to see where the numbers fall.”

The Chamber also assumed that the rule would require carbon capture and sequestration at natural gas-fired power plants. New power generation equipment accounted for $339 billion of the estimated $478 billion in compliance costs in the Chamber’s study.

“Given the significant difference between the emission targets in the proposed rule and the assumptions in the Chamber report, Republicans should have avoided using the Chamber’s numbers in the first place,” the Post said.

The Post gave the claims from the study “four Pinocchios,” the most false rating the paper’s fact checker column gives.

PolitiFact came to a similar conclusion and labeled the claims as “false.”

“That study wrongly assumed the administration would set a benchmark of reducing carbon emissions by 42 percent before 2030. The regulations released June 2 actually put forward a 30 percent reduction within that timeframe,” PolitiFact said. “The chamber itself told PolitiFact its estimates are not based on the goals as announced.”