Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce aired its first ads for 2012, launching its familiar attack on behalf of big oil. The ads running in six states have a common drumbeat – repeal regulation and lower corporate taxes, even at the cost of the environment and public health. One ad singles out Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), in which the chamber claims Brown skipped on “the chance to help cut energy costs” and tried to “increase energy taxes“:
The chamber ads try to put a chill on Brown by emphasizing the coming heating bills for Ohio residents. The spot opens with a hand adjusting a thermostat as an announcer intones, “Energy costs are expected to rise,” then hits Brown for “voting to increase energy taxes.” It closes by urging viewers to “call Sherrod Brown. Tell him Ohioans need economic help, not higher energy taxes.”
By “energy” the Chamber means “oil.” In the two votes cited in the ad, Brown took a clean-energy stand: He opposed a GOP bill that would hasten and expand offshore oil drilling, in spite of the BP disaster last year. Also, Brown’s so-called attempt to increase taxes refers to his co-sponsorship of a bill to close $4 billion in big oil tax loopholes.
The chamber’s attack on common-sense green positions isn’t new. The chamber has a long history of trying to advance loose policy on toxic pollution, lower taxes on polluters, and a weakened Clean Air Act. It has had a fair share of controversy, especially, for denying global warming: In the past few years, it’s lost large corporate members including Apple, Pacific Gas & Electric and Exelon (and Nike as a board member) for differences on climate policy.