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January 19, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722

New Radio Ad Holds Murkowski Accountable for Doing Bidding of Special Interests in Push to Roll Back Clean Air Act

Ad accuses senator of turning back on Alaska’s economy by thwarting climate solutions

Similar ad takes North Dakota’s Congressman Pomeroy to task for pushing related legislation in House

Friends of the Earth Action began airing radio ads in Alaska and North Dakota today taking U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) to task for doing the bidding of corporate lobbyists by attempting to roll back the Clean Air Act.

“Senator Murkowski took lobbyists’ money, then invited them to help her write legislation that will hurt her constituents. It’s classic pay-to-play politics, and it’s wrong,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action.

“Climate change threatens Alaska’s economy, but instead of standing up for her state, Senator Murkowski is doing what the lobbyists want and trying to eliminate the strongest existing tool that could help solve the problem,” Pica said.

“North Dakotans—especially the state’s farmers—are also at risk of climate change impacts, including more and worse droughts,” Pica said. “Congressman Pomeroy should be working to protect his constituents by solving the problem, but instead, he’s standing in the way. That’s unacceptable.”

Last week, the Washington Post reported that two lobbyists helped Murkowski draft a legislative proposal that would prevent the Clean Air Act from being used to reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming. Later in the week, Politico reported Murkowski’s staff had gone so far as to invite the lobbyists to run a conference call organized by her staff that was intended to promote the proposal to other Senate offices. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (citizensforethics.org) reported Murkowski accepted more than $50,000 in campaign cash from clients of the lobbyists that helped craft her proposal.

Murkowski’s staff has said her proposal could be brought to the Senate floor as early as tomorrow—Wednesday, January 20—as an amendment to legislation to raise the national debt limit.

Pomeroy announced on January 8 that he would seek to advance similar legislation, which would also prevent the Clean Air Act from being used to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases that cause global warming.

The 60-second Friends of the Earth Action radio ads, which began airing today on several Anchorage and Fargo stations, can be heard here (AK) and here (ND).

RESOURCES FOR REPORTERS:

• Information about the impacts the climate crisis could have on Alaska and North Dakota’s economies
• More on why the Clean Air Act is an essential tool for solving the climate crisis
A letter from a broad coalition of health, environmental and public interest groups opposing the Murkowski proposal
A letter from all Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee opposing the Murkowski proposal
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on how lobbyists have been involved in the creation and promotion of the Murkowski proposal

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Friends of the Earth Action (www.foeaction.org) provides extra muscle to our sister organization, Friends of the Earth, in legislative battles affecting our environment. FoE Action and our affiliated PAC also serve as Friends of the Earth's political arm, making thoughtful political endorsements, providing direct support to candidates, and placing environmentalists in the field on critical campaigns. Friends of the Earth Action's mission is to promote a clean, healthy and just world and to ensure that we have lawmakers who will work to protect the environment.

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