Green ad campaigns urge PTC extension, support for EPA rules

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014

The Sierra Club today announced an ad campaign targeting House Republicans in competitive races and accusing them of not doing enough to support wind energy development by extending a key renewable energy tax credit. And the League of Conservation Voters is launching an online advertising effort to urge support for U.S. EPA’s recently unveiled rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The efforts highlight the extent to which energy and environmental issues are likely to be a factor in November’s midterm elections and beyond. Supporters of the production tax credit (PTC), which expired at the end of last year, do not see an opening for Congress to reinstate it until a post-election, lame-duck session at the earliest, and even then, the prospects are uncertain. EPA’s power plant rule, meanwhile, has mobilized both sides of the climate fight with Republicans and some business groups reiterating accusations of a war on coal while environmentalists and their Democratic allies say the rule would benefit public health and the environment.

The Sierra Club campaign includes a broadcast ad targeting Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and online advertisements targeting 20 other districts.

“Michigan jobs could get blown away if Congress doesn’t act” to renew the PTC, warns the ad, which the Sierra Club says will air more than 5,000 times in his district this month.

Walberg’s district is favored to stay in Republican hands after November, according to The Rothenberg Political Report‘s House rankings. Walberg faces a tea party-backed primary challenge from Douglas Radcliffe North, a local business executive, and will meet former Democratic state Rep. Pam Byrnes in the general election if he prevails in the primary as expected.

Of the Sierra Club’s 20 other targets, only three are in races Rothenberg lists as competitive, and Republicans hold an advantage in each district. Those three are Reps. Dan Benishek of Michigan, Steve Daines of Montana and Joe Heck of Nevada. The other targets are Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia, Todd Rokita and Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, John Kline of Minnesota, Steve Pearce of New Mexico, Patrick McHenry and Robert Pittenger of North Carolina, Jim Jordan and Mike Turner of Ohio, Greg Walden of Oregon, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania, Randy Neugebauer of Texas, Scott Rigell and Robert Hurt of Virginia, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin.

The Sierra Club wouldn’t disclose the cost of the campaign. Its letter comes days after a coalition of more than 100 conservative groups led by Americans for Prosperity released an open letter to Congress urging an end to the PTC.

LCV’s $175,000 campaign includes several online ads encouraging individuals to submit comments on the EPA rule. A couple take aim at a favorite target of Democrats and environmentalists.

“The Koch brothers want to protect their bottom line,” one ad says, citing the billionaire industrialists who underwrite numerous conservative and libertarian causes. “The EPA wants to protect your health. Whose side are you on?”