Last week, Chairman Fred Upton circulated a letter that tried to make the case that his bill to block the EPA from updating badly-needed safeguards to protect public health from dangerous carbon pollution would be a first step in stopping rising gas prices.
Fortunately, not everyone is prepared to simply swallow the claim that whatever bill a member of congress has in his or her pocket at any given moment in time is part of the solution to rising gas prices.
So Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checker of political claims, took a closer look at Upton's bill (officially known as HR 910, or the (as its unofficially known) Asthma Aggravation Act of 2011) and its potential impact on gas prices.
While Upton and Whitfield's letter is carefully worded, it frames the argument for the bill in the context of today’s trend of rising gasoline prices. Yet the impact of the bill -- if there is an one -- would be years away. And there's no proof that the law would actually stop gas prices from rising. The added regulations now being planned may hamper U.S. refiners, but the international free market could just as easily end up keeping refining costs low. And it’s hardly assured that any changes in refining costs -- up or down -- will influence gasoline prices, which are subject to a wide array of influenes. We find their claim False.
Update: The Washington Post Fact Checker blog busts Upton's gas price claims as well today, saying
Upton’s statement is more problematic. Taking a two-year-old quote out of context and then pretending it supports your point of view — when the speaker denies it is relevant — is worth two Pinocchios.