Environmentalists plan to erect a billboard targeting Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln for her support of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's effort to block U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Friends of the Earth and CREDO Action plan to erect a billboard in Little Rock saying Lincoln wants to gut the Clean Air Act. The activist groups are asking people to vote on the content of the 14-by-48-foot billboard, which the groups say will be seen by more than 50,000 Arkansans each day.
Lincoln is one of three moderate Democrats who have backed Alaska Republican Murkowski's resolution, along with Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, in addition to 38 Republican co-sponsors, according to Murkowski's office. The resolution would require 51 votes to clear the chamber.
"Senator Lincoln has blatantly ignored Arkansans' health and welfare in doing corporate polluters' bidding and trying to roll back the Clean Air Act," said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica. "This billboard will help hold her accountable."
Lincoln spokeswoman Katie Laning Niebaum denounced the planned billboard.
"These intentionally deceptive ads lead people to believe that Senator Lincoln’s efforts would interfere with the enforcement of the Clean Air Act, which is not accurate," Niebaum said. "The Murkowski resolution maintains the Clean Air Act by preventing the EPA from moving forward with over-reaching regulations, beyond the intent of Congress, which could damage Arkansas's small business economy."
Threats from extremist groups from outside the state tell us she is doing something right for Arkansas, Niebaum added.
It is the latest in a series of ads aimed at Murkowski's intention to circumvent the committee process and effectively veto EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. Released last December, EPA's determination opens the door for rules aimed at slashing emissions from a broad range of sources.
Environmental and faith-based activists on Tuesday launched radio advertisements targeting eight senators seen as key in a vote on Murkowski's measure, with the groups coined the "Dirty Air Act." Last month, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund released a television ad and Friends of the Earth Action Fund aired radio ads in Alaska, both attacking Murkowski.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, continue to hammer Murkowski, launching a Web site called PolluterHarmony.com, a take-off on matchmaking site eHarmony.com.
The tongue-in-cheek page says that it is "the #1 matchmaking site for polluters, industry lobbyists, & politicians!" It features the logos of Chevron Corp., Southern Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp., a picture of Murkowski and a video with a man who says he is a corporate lobbyist and is matched with "Lisa," who "likes to stay up late at night and gut clean energy bills."
"PolluterHarmony will draw attention to the close connections between polluters, influence peddlers and friendly public officials," said Kert Davies, director of PolluterWatch, a Greenpeace project. "While the relationships are not quite romantic, it's clear that many of these individuals put their love of money and influence ahead of their concern for our health and a clean energy future."
"These personal attacks ignore the fact that there's a legitimate debate to be had" on whether the Clean Air Act is the proper tool for dealing with climate change, said Murkowski spokesman Robert Dillon. "Senator Murkowski is legitimately concerned with the economic effect these regulations would have."
"They want to attack Senator Murkowski's character," Dillon said.