Washington, D.C. – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety, responded to the inflammatory ad campaign sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The campaign egregiously exploits the war on terrorism to stoke fear and opposition to President Bush’s environmental policies.
Sen. Inhofe’s statement:
“Do environmental groups care about the environment? Or is their very existence geared toward endlessly raising money to produce irresponsible rhetoric about environmental policy on television ads?
“The NRDC ad campaign provides glaring proof that the group cares nothing about the substance of environmental policy. Instead, they prefer rank politicking, backed by hefty doses of fear and intimidation.
“To twist a phrase like ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ with all of its connotations of terrorism, fear, panic, September 11, and the death of thousands of innocent American lives, into an ad about pollution, is simply appalling. It represents the height of extremism and irresponsibility.
“NRDC simply can’t accept that President Bush has proposed the most aggressive presidential initiative in history to reduce power plant emissions. The Clear Skies Act will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury, and nitrogen oxides 70 percent by 2018. It will bring about significant human health benefits.
“Who is holding this up? Who refuses to have a reasonable, measured debate about building on the nation’s environmental progress over the last 30 years? NRDC and its environmental group allies.
“Take down the ad, and get serious about reducing pollution in this country.”
Sen. Voinovich’s statement:
“The biggest threat to the environment today is partisanship. Unless Democrats and Republicans work together to write strong bills to protect public health and the environment that can actually pass Congress and be signed into law, then we are passing up on the opportunity to make serious progress.
“The fact of the matter is that we have a very good initiative now in the Clear Skies plan that will reduce power plant pollution by record levels and still help keep energy costs under control. Groups that want to abandon coal and every other energy resource except for natural gas simply don’t care about what’s practical. They don’t care about jobs, manufacturing, or the economy.
“When special interest groups peddle fear with inflammatory TV ads such as this one, it does little to bring people together. It will just be a matter of time before these groups once again go further than this already outrageous ad and attack the elected officials who don’t follow behind them in lockstep. I hope we can avoid this type of rhetoric, however, and maintain a constructive working environment so that real progress can be made.”