NV: Big Oil-Backed Attack Ads Bring Big Oil Talking Points to Senate Race
Last week, Dean Heller’s campaign launched a new attack ad in the Nevada Senate race blasting clean energy legislation, based on talking points from the oil industry and vague citations from a newspaper that actually supported the bill. Heller has taken more than $260,000 from oil and gas companies throughout his career. Now, he is embracing attacks used by polluting campaign donors to distort clean energy legislation rather than supporting policies that would help Nevada’s clean energy economy grow and provide much-needed jobs in Nevada.
Heller’s ad, titled “Afford,” smears the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 - which Heller dubs an “energy tax” - using citations from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
Had it passed, the legislation would have created a carbon market trading system, made significant investments in clean energy solutions like wind and solar to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, tackled the rise in climate-disrupting greenhouse gases, and created hundreds of thousands of American clean-energy jobs. It was opposed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and oil, gas, and coal companies hoping to maintain a chokehold on the nation’s energy future. NAM - which counts executives from Arch Coal, Conocophillips, and Marathon Oil as board members- spent nearly $10 million lobbying Congress in 2009 in part to defeat the legislation. The group’s strident position against clean energy even led utility Duke Energy to leave NAM in 2009.
Heller’s ad attacks the
bill’s clean energy investments using on-screen citations to materials created
by dirty energy lobbyists to back up their attacks. In addition to NAM, Heller
also cites the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank with extensive ties to ExxonMobil., and
the New York Times to bolster his attacks.
The New York Times is also cited, but ironically, that paper actually supported the legislation Heller targets. In May of 2009, The New York Times editorialized that the American Clean Energy Act “is an honorable start on a problem too long neglected,” continuing:
We do know that the emissions cap will not begin to bite until 2012 and that past programs to clean the air have always cost less than predicted. And, if the scientists are right, we know that the costs of doing nothing will dwarf the costs of acting now.
Heller’s ad, therefore, relies heavily on citations from industry groups that spent millions to attack this historic legislation and a reference to a newspaper that actually supported it.