Most congress people, when they want research, turn to the Congressional Research Service, a organization that dates back to 1914 and prides itself on doing research that is “confidential, authoritative, objective and nonpartisan.”
And then there is a group of Republican legislators, organized as the Rural American Solutions Group, who held a telephone press conference to argue that the “Democrats’ Energy Tax” — that’s the GOP talking point for climate change legislation – will “make it more expensive for rural Americans to fertilize the crops, put fuel in the tractor and food on the table.”
They unveiled a map showing the state by state impact of cap-and-trade indicating that New York, California, New Jersey and a handful of other states will benefit, but that a vast swath of the south, Midwest and southwest will suffer.
The map, it turns out, came from the National Mining Association.
Blogger Vitor Zapanta at ThinkProgress.org has a digital image taken from the Republicans’ Power Point presentation showing that it was created by Peabody Coal, the nation’s biggest coal producer. Kate Sheppard of Grist did some sleuthing of her own and found out that the map appears on the mining association website. She notes that the research has a footnote explicitly saying that the calculations do not take into account the current version of Waxman-Markey, and, worse, that they cover only the costs of the legislation and not the benefits, including allocations back to utility companies to mitigate against price increases. This isn’t research at all; it’s advocacy.
This is what is politely called the influence of special interests in Washington.
The congress members peddling the NMA’s work were Frank Lucas (R-OK), Sam Graves (R-MO), and Doc Hastings (R-WA). Way to think for yourself, guys.