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Chamber claims on coal rule debunked

2014-06-15T00:00:00Z 2014-06-16T08:21:05Z Chamber claims on coal rule debunked The Billings Gazette
June 15, 2014 12:00 am

Glenn Oppel's June 10 guest opinion asserts that the Obama administration's plan to reduce greenhouse gases will cost about 224,000 jobs annually through 2030. This estimate predates the recently released plan and, in fact, is based on different numbers and assumptions entirely.

As for Oppel's claim that the regulations would result in a "de-facto ban on developing clean coal technology," the actual plan sets emissions targets without mandating how they would be reached. If clean coal works, one would think such targets will actually place it at a competitive advantage.

Since the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the source of his numbers, it's remarkable that Oppel, identified as "executive director of the Montana Chamber of Commerce," is apparently so uninformed about the statistics he uses. Oppel's numbers and similar figures have already been analyzed by fact checkers such as the Washington Post, which gives them "Four Pinocchios," and Politifact, which rates them as "false." In fact, the U.S. Chamber itself told Politifact that the jobs estimate was based on earlier speculation and does not apply to the actual proposal.

Equally remarkable, given the widespread use of these figures even after they've been discredited by their own source, is that The Gazette's editorial oversight is so shoddy. While The Gazette may not want to micromanage its op-ed columns, a newspaper should not abet the promulgation of known falsehoods on its editorial page.

Bernard Quetchenbach

Billings

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