CLIMATE:

Liberal group targets GOP backers of Murkowski resolution

A liberal advocacy group is running an advertising campaign attacking three Republican senators for endorsing a failed effort to hamstring federal climate regulations.

Americans United for Change is sponsoring TV ads targeting Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) for their votes in favor of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) bid to block U.S. EPA's climate rules.

The ads are aimed at pressuring the Republicans to support a comprehensive energy and climate bill from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), said Americans United for Change executive director Tom McMahon.

"With this effort, we hope to make it as politically toxic for Senator Burr, Grassley and Brown as possible back home to continue standing with big oil," McMahon said in a statement. "Hopefully it will make them think twice about ultimately voting against the president's comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation -- the American Power Act."

The ads are the latest in a series from the liberal group tying Murkowski's resolution to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They accuse the senators of voting to "let Big Oil off the hook" by limiting EPA regulations and while accepting contributions from the oil industry.

All 41 Senate Republicans and six Democrats voted Thursday to support the Murkowski measure, which was quashed in a 47-53 procedural vote.

Grassley and Burr are both up for re-election this fall, although both are expected to keep their seats; Brown is expected to face a tough re-election fight in 2012.

Grassley and Brown both issued statements last week decrying the Obama administration's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

"The EPA is simply trying to bully Congress by saying, 'Either you pass a bill that will raise costs for American families and destroy jobs or we'll pass regulations that will be even worse,'" Grassley said in a statement. "The Obama administration has acknowledged this, but is still pushing forward."

Brown wrote in a Cape Cod Times op-ed that allowing EPA to regulate greenhouse gases "would give an unelected and unaccountable government agency the power to impose restrictive and damaging carbon dioxide regulations that will drive up energy prices and hurt job-creating small businesses in our country." Brown added that there are "ways to renew our national commitment to cleaner sources of energy without breaking the back of our economy."

Americans United for Change will spend $118,000 to run ads against Grassley in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids from June 15 to June 21, and $234,000 to run ads against Burr in Raleigh and Charlotte during that time. The $53,000 ads targeting Brown were launched Friday and aired over the weekend, including a spot during the NBA Finals game last night.

The advocacy group was formed in 2005 by Democratic officials and labor interests and has run campaigns for a number of Democratic initiatives, including health care legislation, financial reform and climate legislation.

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