Blanche Lincoln under fire
By Juliet Eilperin
If it's not enough that Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) now has a primary opponent in the form of Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, critics say she is not doing enough to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases on its own.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group founded by David H. Koch, will kick off a campaign aimed at pushing lawmakers to block the EPA's scientific finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare.
The multi-million dollar campaign, which will include social networking and e-mail appeals as well as live events and paid radio and television advertising, will start March 22 in Hot Springs. Tim Phillips, the group's president, said that while Lincoln "has a decent story to tell" on the issue, seeing that she's joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in trying to overturn the EPA's finding, she needs to do more.
"An effective legislator, sure she can get the president of her own party to do something on this," he said in an interview Monday.
The tour will target at least 50 House members and several senators, Phillips said, traveling to North Dakota, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Indiana and Pennsylvania during its initial stage.
"We want to make these guys in office explain what they're doing about this unelected bureaucracy," Phillips said.
Americans for Prosperity receives money from the energy industry--Koch Industries runs oil refining and pipeline companies--but Phillips said since the group also runs campaigns targeting unions and health care reformers, that shouldn't be seen as influencing its agenda. "Though we're happy to take energy industry funding, I don't shy away from that," he said.
Introducing a resolution of disapproval on the EPA's endangerment finding has become popular--while House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.), Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) just introduced such a measure Friday, now Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and 78 other Republicans are introducing their own resolution of disapproval Tuesday.
Ironically, Lincoln has gotten grief from environmentalists for introducing the resolution of disapproval targeting EPA. The League of Conservation Voters has put her on its list of this year's "Dirty Dozen" candidates, and the group's senior vice president for political affairs, Tony Massaro, said Monday it is considering backing her primary opponent.
"We could not agree more with Bill Halter that Washington is no longer working for Arkansas and that partisanship is standing in the way of progress," Massaro said. "We are excited that Bill Halter has decided to run for U.S. Senate because we believe as senator he will side with Arkansas families over the special interests, work to bring clean energy jobs to the state and reduce our national dependence on foreign oil."
Juliet Eilperin| March 1, 2010; 12:09 PM ET Save & Share:
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