Energy

NYT Takes A Page From Activists, Refers To Energy Companies As ‘Polluters’

The New York Times published a front-page story making it clear they are not happy with President Donald Trump’s de-regulatory agenda.

Let’s start with the headline: “Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Polluters and More.”

Polluters? Do they mean people who dump toxic waste into rivers to poison children and puppies?

No, they mean oil companies and coal miners extracting resources everyday to make sure Americans always have a full tank of gas or electricity in the middle of the night when their 6-week-old wakes them up for a feeding. Environmental activists frequently use the term “polluters” to attack Trump’s cabinet and energy industry support. Rarely is the term so easily co-opted for newspaper headlines.

The crux of NYT’s article is in the sixth paragraph, when reporters charge “that the changes came after appeals by corporate lobbyists and trade association executives, who see a potentially historic opportunity to lower compliance costs and drive up profits.”

Ominous wording, but not the kind we saw when the paper wrote about companies that supported the Obama administration’s regulatory effort.

Apple, for example, supported Obama-era carbon dioxide limits on power plants. The company also just happened to be investing billions of dollars in wind and solar energy that would no doubt get a boost from the rule.

Apple is the most profitable company in the world. Could the company have a vested interest in such regulations?

NYT treats Trump’s deregulatory efforts for the oil, coal and gas industries as if companies will wantonly be able to pollute the environment.

The Times reports the Trump administration recently rescinded “a requirement that financial advisers act in the interest of their clients, and a rule aimed at protecting drinking water from pollution.”

What’s missing is any actual detail on those rules or even a mention of why industry opposed them.

The NYT omits any, and they are substantial, costs the fiduciary rule and Stream Protection Rule (SPR) will exact on their respective industries. In fact, the rebuttals against those rules are relegated to foot notes in the Times’ report.

Critics of the SPR, for example, say it’s duplicative (EPA already regulates streams) and would put 64 percent of U.S. coal reserves off-limits to mining. What kind of people wouldn’t object if a new rule duplicating existing law rendered 64 percent of their industry illegal? The coal industry rightly objected, claiming thousands of mining jobs were at stake, to say nothing of powering the planet’s homes.

Is the coal industry right? Maybe, but NYT doesn’t get into any specifics about the rule or mention why anyone might oppose it. Opposing regulations, as the Times presents the opposition, is just evidence of implied malfeasance.

NYT hammered Trump for responding to a request by “fossil fuel trade groups” in February to repeal “a new rule changing the way these companies pay royalties for oil, gas or coal extracted from federal lands.”

Here, the Times actually notes energy industry lawyers called the rule “impractical and in some cases impossible,” but adds “environmentalists and conservative nonprofit groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense praised the effort, saying that for decades energy companies had been underpaying the federal government.”

“The new standard was expected to push up federal revenue by as much as $85 million annually,” NYT reported.

The Times neglected to mention raising royalties (a.k.a. taxes) on natural resource extraction could also drive people away from drilling on federal lands — maybe that’s why environmentalists love it?

 

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