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Global Warming Panel Nixes GOP Witness

Updated: 4:31 p.m.Democrats nixed at least one potential witness chosen by Republicans to appear Thursday before the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee as part of a hearing into forged climate change letters.Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the anti-regulatory group Competitive Enterprise Institute, was ready to testify about the larger implications of AstroTurf campaigns and to claim that liberal groups have engaged in many of the same techniques at issue, according to a copy of his prepared testimony obtained by Roll Call.“Deceptive advocacy practices have existed for years throughout the environmental policy area, both from inside and coordinated with government, environmental pressure groups and industry,— Horner was prepared to say, according to the testimony. Further, Horner was going to document several cases where he believes liberal groups and proponents of climate change action have employed such techniques, including a posting on the Web site Craigslist by the Environmental Defense Action Fund offering to pay activists to show up to a North Dakota climate change rally.“Paying $90 per day for ad hoc activism is an example of the purest form of ‘Astroturfing,’ or running a fake grass-roots campaign with a committed army of paid ‘volunteers,’— according to Horn.EDAF disputes Horner’s characterization of the work it did in North Dakota.Bill Petty, field director for the national climate campaign, said EDAF hired a grass-roots organizing firm to help it implement a postcard and cell phone campaign in 13 states, including North Dakota. The field operatives engaged people to sign a postcard to lawmakers supporting passage of climate legislation and offered cell phones to be used for people to call their Member of Congress.“We were engaging voters, not asking people to go to rallies,— Petty said.Eben Burnham-Snyder, spokesman for Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), said that an agreement was reached between committee staff to stick to the witness list that was agreed to for the original hearing.American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity President Steve Miller, Bonner & Associates founder Jack Bonner, NAACP director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Hilary Shelton and Lisa Maatz, director of public policy and government relations at the American Association of University Women all testified at the hearing.