Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Tales of light bulbs, gas prices and spilled milk

Will a new bill stop gas prices from rising?
Will a new bill stop gas prices from rising?

Republicans are taking aim at government regulation by making provocative claims about gasoline prices, light bulbs and spilled milk.

Today we examined a claim by Reps. Fred Upton and Ed Whitfield, who chair committees on energy policy, that one way to stop rising gas prices would be to pass the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 910).

The bill would prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases for the purpose of addressing climate change.

"H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, is the first in this legislative series to stop rising gas prices by halting EPA’s Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulations," the two wrote to colleagues, describing their desire "to restrain this regulatory overreach that will restrict oil supplies and cause gasoline prices to rise."

We found that the impact of the bill -- if it were to pass -- would be years away. And it's not clear there would be an impact. So we rated it  False.

Our partners at PolitiFact Virginia called another EPA-related claim False. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said in his February newsletter to constituents that "a new ruling by the EPA would force dairy farmers to comply with the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Program when dealing with spilt milk -- the same regulations oil and natural gas producers must follow."

Still earlier this year, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said that the federal government "now tells us which light bulbs to buy." PolitifactTexas had fact-checked a similar claim by Republican Gov. Rick Perry and had found it Barely True, and we came to the same conclusion about Bachmann's statement.

And there was this claim, promoted by bloggers, that a pending food safety bill "would give Big Brother the power to regulate the tomato plants in your backyard. ... This tyrannical law puts all food production (yes, even food produced in your own garden) under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security." It rated a PantsOnFire.