For Immediate Release:
June 2, 2014

Contact:
Craig Richardson
Richardson@eelegal.org

Obama Cloaks Radical Anti-Energy Policies in Supposed Activist Turned Big Money Washington Lobbyists

Washington, D.C. – The Obama Administration has launched a new campaign for its radical new EPA standards demanding a 30% cut in carbon emissions, a unilateral move that will cause energy prices to “skyrocket”, cost countless jobs to be lost, and disproportionally hurt the poor, all for the sake of a political solution not based on science.  In this campaign, it has partnered with the American Lung Association (ALA), known best by most Americans for its anti-smoking campaign.

However, looking deeper into the ALA’s recent history demonstrates clearly that the ALA has long since transitioned from a traditional health charity to big money Washington DC lobbyists, often funded at taxpayer expense or questionable corporate backers, supporting or opposing causes for money that are only loosely related to any sort of health charity cause.   As economist James Bennett has put it, “

[T]he ALA has mutated into a powerful lobbying organization by selling its reputation; the ALA has ‘hocked its halo’ in order to do well while purporting to do only good.”

The ALA’s own press release bears this out.  The Obama Administration’s radical new rules are supposedly being created to combat climate change, yet the ALA focuses on public health.  Indeed, ALA’s own press release on this push states that, “Evidence is clear that pollution from power plants is harming the health of our nation.”

Yet many of ALA’s claims are highly debatable.  Much of ALA’s push in favor of ever stricter controls on power plants is the claim that it contributes to asthma rates.  Yet overall, current understanding of risk factors for asthma are best summarized by Dr. Peyton Eggleston, who noted that, “Our understanding of the environmental influences [of asthma] is still in its infancy, but we can say that indoor exposures are more important than ambient pollutants and that bioaerosols containing allergenic proteins are especially important.”  This is supported by increasing trends in asthma rates compared to decreased air pollution levels.  As explained by Dr. Julie Goodman, “This indicates that lowering ambient criteria pollutant concentrations below current health-protective NAAQS will not have a meaningful impact on asthma.”

But the ALA is now a political/lobbying organization, not a medical charity, and it acts as such.  It now regularly engages in traditional political activism such as running political ads in the district of Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and publishing others in political magazines like Roll Call and Congressional Quarterly, it’s clear that its main job is politics now, not charity or science.  Its lobbying efforts around Washington DC are well known on a whole host of issues, many only tangentially related to its original cause.

What’s more, the ALA is making a lot of money engaging in these activities, both from self-interested private sector donors and public sector grants.  The EPA has given over $20 million dollars in grants to the EPA in the past 10 years.  And by pushing this radical political agenda, following the money wherever it may go, over its since-forgotten charitable mission, it disproportionally hurts the poor.  It is undeniable that these unilateral regulations will cause a rise in energy prices, as those in the bottom fifth of the economic bracket spend nearly a quarter of their money on energy, while those in the top fifth spend only 4%.

“In essence, the Obama/ALA Agenda is a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy and well connected; an odd agenda for an administration that claims to want to fight inequality.  The end result is that the Obama/ALA agenda will take food off our children’s table and opportunity out of their future through the false alarmism spewed out of single interest environmental activists,” said Dr. David Schnare, a scientist and a lawyer who worked at the EPA for nearly three decades.

Given the well-known desire of more conventional “green” groups to explicitly destroy the coal industry, a position the Obama Administration claims it opposes, it is understandable that he would shun more conventional green groups as part of his ill-advised regulatory push.  Yet people should not be fooled by their attempt to cloak themselves in a “charity” like the ALA, which has long since abandoned its charitable mission for political power.  It is the same radical, unbalanced, unilateral and unscientific agenda, regardless of the misguided public relations campaign put behind it, and EPA has bought it hook, line and sinker.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.

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