EPA chides Chamber of Commerce again

For the third time this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shot back at the Chamber of Commerce, saying the business group misrepresented the agency’s economic analysis.

In a Wednesday blog post, Tom Reynolds, the EPA’s top spokesman, said a post the day before from the Chamber mischaracterized a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis.

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The Chamber said the report “confirms EPA’s track record of either not scrutinizing the job effects of its regulations or doing poor analyses.”

Reynolds defended the EPA’s analysis and said that his agency makes reducing job losses — and properly accounting for them — a top priority.

“While the Chamber of Commerce and others continue to produce analyses that undercount the ability of our economy to innovate and ignore the benefits of a cleaner environment, history confirms that we don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and economic growth,” he said. “The two go hand in hand.”

As an example, Reynolds said business groups estimated that the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act would cost 2 million jobs, a result that was not borne out.

“EPA is keenly aware that our economy is on the rebound and that policy makers are concerned about impacts on employment — that is why we have increased the amount of employment analysis we perform over the last several years, particularly for economically significant rules,” he said.

The GAO report showed that EPA uses the best methods available to estimate job impacts, he said.

Reynolds wrote twice about the Chamber’s response to the agency’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

He said the Chamber’s predictions of economic and job costs were based on “unfounded assumptions.” Two news outlets’ fact checkers declared the analysis false, because it relied on assumptions about the proposal that were not true.