Clean air, water rules spark different responses

November 26, 2011 - 3:35 AM
Clean Air Politics

In this photo taken June 16, 2009, Anthony Earley Jr., then-chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, speaks at the National Summit in Detroit, Mich. Large and small utility companies have told Republican-led congressional committees what the party wants to hear: dire predictions of plant closings and layoffs if the Obama administration succeeds with plans to further curb air and water pollution.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies complaining about tighter air and water pollution standards may be saying one thing to lawmakers and another to regulators and investors.

The Associated Press compared companies' congressional testimony to company reports submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The reports consistently said the impact of environmental proposals is unknown or would not cause serious financial harm.

That's different from testimony to Republican-led congressional committees. Companies large and small made dire predictions of plant closings and layoffs if the Obama administration succeeds with plans to further curb air and water pollution.

The disparity in the messages shows that in a political environment, business has no misgivings about describing potential economic horror stories to lawmakers. Republicans plan to make what they say is regulatory overreach a 2012 campaign issue.