The oil industry, whose image couldn’t be worse in the wake of the BP spill, was less than thrilled that Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was defeated. 

Predictably, Big Oil’s spokesmouth employed the usual Freddy Kruegeresque scare tactics. 

“Massive and rapidly imposed restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions would harm the American economy and hit every American in his or her wallet,” warned Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. “If EPA’s aggressive campaign to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is successful, it will add billions of dollars to the cost of doing business in the United States, raise the cost of energy and other products for American families, wipe out the jobs of millions of American workers and simply shift greenhouse gas emissions from the United States to other nations without any increase in environmental protection.” 

Can I come out from under the bed now?

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), a true friend of the environment, quickly shot down Drevna’s sky-is-falling scenario, saying the Murkowski crowd has made false economic claims.

“Quite the opposite, it is [the Murkowski] resolution that will hurt our economy by causing the American people to forfeit a third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that are projected to come from last year’s historic agreement between the Obama Administration, the states, and the nation’s automakers and autoworkers,” he said.

“Much of what the special interests, and Big Oil and their lobbyists, have been saying in favor of this resolution is steeped not in science, but in politics and mistruths,” Leahy added.

Rebecca Rasch, communications manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, got it right when she noted that the Murkowski resolution would have nullified “EPA’s finding of scientific fact that greenhouse gases cause harmful global warming—a finding that forms the legal basis for any further steps EPA can take to address carbon pollution.” 

Supporting the bill, Rasch added, would have been “a vote against the strong scientific consensus that climate change is a real threat we must avoid.” 

For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience