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Environmentalists Launch Ad Campaign on EPA Rules

Environmentalists and their Democratic allies are not going to let a Republican-led campaign against emissions regulations go unchallenged — or unpunished.

A coalition of environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters, are investing at least $2 million in television advertisements targeting nine House Members who voted for a bill that orders the administration to investigate the economic effect of air quality and pollutant standards. A spokesman for the NRDC could not provide a specific dollar figure for the buy but said it would be at least $1 million.

The bill, known as the TRAIN Act, passed 249-169 in the House on Sept. 26 and is awaiting Senate action.

House lawmakers are slated to vote on two more bills today that would block Environmental Protection Agency clean air standards for industrial boilers and cement plants — the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), and the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.).

As Members cast their ballots, Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will release a report arguing that such regulations are crucial to protecting public health and spurring job growth.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been a powerful ally in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) campaign to roll back EPA regulations and is counting both the TRAIN Act and the two bills on the floor today as key votes on which Members will be scored.

“The House Regulatory agenda is necessary because at a time when a focus on economic growth should be paramount, EPA appears unable or unwilling to write a rule that achieves its environmental goals without sacrificing American jobs,” said Dave Natonski, a spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s critical that Congress restores balance and accountability to the regulatory process.”

The ads, which will start running next week, target Members in four states: Pennsylvania Reps. Tim Holden (D) and Lou Barletta (R), Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers (R), Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg (R), and New Jersey Republican Reps. Frank LoBiondo, Chris Smith, Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen.

Good deeds won’t go entirely unrecognized: Environment Ohio, one of several regional groups helping to sponsor the advertisements, is releasing a spot praising Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), who voted against the TRAIN Act.

“We want these lawmakers’ constituents to know who is choosing to protect the air we breathe and who is opting to put our health at risk,” Frances Beinecke, president of Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “With more bills aimed at unraveling the Clean Air Act expected to move through Congress, we will be watching votes closely.”

The ads will begin airing Monday.

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