Greenpeace and Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office are in a battle of words over her effort to block U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
An aide to the Alaska Republican condemned Greenpeace yesterday after PolluterWatch, a project of the environmental group, launched a Web site called PolluterHarmony.com, a take-off on the matchmaking site eHarmony.com.
PolluterHarmony.com calls itself "the #1 matchmaking site for polluters, industry lobbyists, & politicians!" and features a photo of Murkowski along with 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." The man speaks in romantic tones about his match with Lisa, saying, "It's been just magical." A picture shows a man and woman holding hands as they walk.
The PolluterWatch site is one of a number of ads targeting Murkowski for her plan to offer a resolution that would essentially 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.
Environmentalists yesterday said they planned to erect a billboard criticizing Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, one of three moderate Democrats who has signed on in support of Murkowski's measure. Environmental and faith-based activists this week launched radio advertisements targeting eight senators seen as key in a vote on Murkowski's measure, which 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.
"This type of personal attack is highly offensive and clearly crosses the line," Murkowski spokesman Robert Dillon said. "This is a perfect example of what's wrong with Washington. Too often outside groups go for the personal attack when they can't win on the merits. Rather than have a legitimate debate about the policy, they launch a smear campaign."
Dillon said the site featured "insults to the senator and her family -- as if these people have no bounds, no sense of truth, and no interest in meaningful climate policy. Greenpeace should be downright ashamed to be associated with, let alone paying for, these ads."
PolluterWatch director Kert Davies responded today by saying that "what crosses the line is Senator Murkowski's blatant attempt to gut the Clean Air Act in order to satisfy her dirty industry lobbyist backers."
"If she objects to the scrutiny her conduct has received, she should consider putting her constituents ahead of Washington lobbyists," Davies said. "Until then, we will continue to hold her accountable for her close ties to influence peddlers like Jeffrey Holmstead."
News reports earlier this year revealed that Holmstead, an industry lawyer who served in the George W. Bush administration, advised Murkowski's office on a failed amendment last year to block EPA regulations. Environmentalists have pointed to Holmstead's involvement as a signal that Murkowski is working on behalf of industry interests, but the Alaska senator has said her staff consulted a variety of outside experts, including environmentalists and Republican and Democratic lawmakers, when drafting that amendment.