Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is lashing out at the League of Women Voters for running a television spot that criticizes his vote to roll back Clean Air Act protections against carbon pollution, threatening the 134,000 children with asthma in his state. In an op-ed in the Boston Herald, Brown claimed the League has “gone into the gutter” and “put its reputation at risk” for “suggesting that I voted to hurt sick children“:
If you’ve been watching TV lately, you’re probably aware that I’m the target of a negative attack ad that is running on all the stations. This one seeks to distort my pro-jobs record by suggesting that I voted to hurt sick children. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Watch the ad:
Brown did, in fact, vote to increase health risks for sick children. On April 6, Brown joined every Republican senator other than Susan Collins and four Democrats to support the McConnell amendment — originally introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — to reverse the scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution and strike down ten other existing Clean Air Act carbon pollution rules. As the technical support document for the endangerment finding explains, global warming increases ozone pollution:
According to the IPCC (Denman et al., 2007), climate change is expected to lead to increases in regional ozone pollution in the United States and other countries. Ozone impacts on pubic health and welfare are described in EPA’s Air Quality Criteria Document for Ozone (U.S. EPA, 2006). Breathing ozone at sufficient concentrations can reduce lung function, thereby aggravating asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Greenhouse pollution not only attacks children’s health through global warming, but also directly attacks children living in cities. Domes of carbon dioxide form above cities and “cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone as well as particles in urban air.”
Not only would implementation of these Clean Air Act rules reduce global warming that exacerbates asthma, they would also direct polluters to reduce other harmful pollutants. The health benefits of reducing co-pollutants through greenhouse gas mitigation has been known by scientists for years.
The stark facts support the League of Women Voters’ contention that Brown cast a vote to reverse existing clean air rules and harm children’s health. In his op-ed, Brown even admitted his anti-health vote was cast to protect the profits of industrial polluters like Koch Industries, a top campaign contributor. “I believe that legislators should craft our energy and environmental policies with a view to ensuring we do not increase joblessness when our economy is still hurting,” Brown wrote.
NRDC‘s Pete Altman notes that Brown is trying to fundraise off his climate denial:
Now, Scott Brown is crying victim, accusing the League of abandoning non-partisanship with these “phony attacks.” Between the tears and sniffling though, he is asking his supporters to send him money . “Please contribute $1,000, $500, or even $50 right now below this message to help us fight back.”