“Why did Rick Boucher vote to kill Virginia jobs?” Newt Gingrich’s coal-powered front group, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), asked this incendiary question of the coal-district Democrat in a full-page advertisement in the Roanoke Times. The ad, acquired by the Wonk Room, claims Boucher voted “for new energy taxes on every Virginian” when he supported the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) in the House energy committee last month. ASWF goes on to cite terrorizing statistics about “Boucher’s new energy tax”:
Boucher’s new energy tax would:
1. Kill 1,105,000 American jobs per year on average
2. Increase electricity rates 90%
3. Increase gas prices 74%
4. Increase an average family’s annual energy bill by $1,500
5. Send U.S. jobs to China and India
These figures are drawn from a repeatedly discredited study by the Heritage Foundation, who used an unrealistic economic model to examine the effects of a cap-and-trade system that does not resemble the comprehensive clean energy provisions of Waxman-Markey. In reality, independent experts from the Congressional Budget Office and the Environmental Protection Agency have found that the clean energy legislation will:
— Improve the budgets of the poorest 20 percent of Americans
— Cost between 22 to 48 cents a day for the average American household
— Cut global warming pollution and oil dependence
And these studies didn’t even take into account the economic benefit of averting catastrophic climate change. Furthermore, creating powerful standards for global warming pollution and clean energy create good American jobs, not kill them. Boucher’s vote was a down payment on a national investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency that would dramatically reduce U.S. global warming pollution would create 45,000 jobs in Virginia and create 1.7 million jobs every year.
ASWF’s attack exposes the conflict occuring within the American energy industry. From his perch in the energy committee, Boucher won significant concessions on behalf of the coal industry in the legislation. Some companies — like the coal-powered utilities Dominion Resources, American Electric Power, and Duke Energy — recognize that the United States must pass comprehensive climate legislation now, and have heralded Boucher as a champion of their interests. However, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company, is bankrolling the dishonest attacks of Gingrich’s group and the National Mining Association.