Tell Senator Richard Burr to Look Out for America’s Clean Energy Future, Not Big Oil Profits

June 14, 2010                                                 

New TV Ad: Tell Senator Richard Burr to Look Out for America’s Clean Energy Future, Not Big Oil Profits


After Taking $426,000 From Big Oil, Burr Voted to Let Them Off the Hook for Their Pollution



Click Here to Watch “FLOW”


WashingtonDC– In a major win for the American people and clean energy, last week the U.S. Senate defeated a reckless resolution put forward by oil state Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would have crippled the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing greenhouse gas emission rules under the Clean Air Act.  Despite stark warnings from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson that the Murkowski resolution would “increase America's oil dependence by billions of barrels” and “would take away EPA's ability to protect the health and welfare of Americans from greenhouse gas pollution,” Senator Richard Burr stood on the side of the big oil interests that have given him $426,000 in campaign contributions -- voting to let them off the hook for their pollution.


In response, Americans United for Change will launch a $234,000 television ad campaign tomorrow calling Senator Burr to the carpet for voting for the ‘Murkowski Big Oil Bailout.’  See script for “FLOW” below, which will air June 15-21st on a mix of broadcast and cable television in Raleigh and Charlotte.


            Tom McMahon, Executive Director, Americans United for Change: “How could Senator Burr look at the worst oil spill in U.S. history that is devastating the Gulf region and say ‘Yes’ to stripping away the government’s ability to police the polluters? Big oil doesn’t need a bailout, yet Senator Burr voted to let them off the hook for their pollution after taking nearly half a million dollars of their campaign contributions.  Hasn’t big oil money polluted our environment and politics enough, Senator Burr?   Senator Burr also has a lot of explaining to do to the people of North Carolina on why he would support something that would actually worsen our nation’s dependence on Mid-East oil by millions of barrels a day and put more money into the hands of our enemies.  With this effort, we hope to make it as uncomfortable for Senator Burr as possible back home to continue standing with big oil.  Hopefully, Senator Burr will think twice before ultimately voting against the President’s comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation – the American Power Act.” 





Americans United For Change: Flow

Date: 6/15/10






Narrator: Every day, oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico.



Study Concludes That BP Spill Is Leaking 1 Million Gallons Of Oil A Day.“The Deepwater Horizon well has most likely spewed 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil a day, more than previously estimated, according to one of several teams of scientists appointed by the federal government to study the flow from the dark geyser at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. If the team's estimate is correct, and the flow has been more or less consistent, approximately 1.3 million to 1.5 million barrels, or 53.6 million to 64.3 million gallons, of oil have emerged from the well since the April 20 blowout. That is roughly five to six times the amount spilled in Alaskan waters in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez.” [WashingtonPost, 6/11/10]


Narrator: And oil money… pours through the halls of Congress.


And $426,000 dollars of it… flows right into the pocket of our Senator.


Visual: Senator Burr

$426,000 from Big Oil


Senate Republicans Have Accepted At Least $18.6 Million From Big Oil. Since 1989, members of the Senate Republican Caucus for the 111th Congress have accepted at least $18,690,814 from the oil and gas industry. [Center for Responsive Politics, 6/4/10; CQ MoneyLine, 6/7/10]


Burr Has Accepted More Than $426,000 From Big Oil. Since 1989, Burr has accepted at least $426,602 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. [Center for Responsive Politics, 6/8/10]


Visual:  What’s worse than taking big bucks from Big Oil?


Narrator: What’s worse than taking big bucks from Big Oil?


Narrator: Wiping out protections that hold polluters accountable.


Visual:  Wiping Out Polluter Protections

Murkowski Resolution

Roll Call Vote #184, 6/10/10


Burr Voted For The Big Oil Bailout. Burr voted for the Murkowski Resolution, which would’ve prevented the EPA from enforcing carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. This includes a mandatory 1/3 reduction in carbon emissions from auto makers. [Vote 184, 6/10/10]


The Former EPA Administrator For Two Republican Presidents Said That The Murkowski Resolution Would “Rollback Clean Air Act Protections.”‘S.J.Res. 26 would rollback Clean Air Act protections and prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, notwithstanding the agency's scientific determination that these pollutants endanger human health and welfare,’ Train wrote in a letter (pdf) to Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Train served as EPA chief under former Presidents Nixon and Ford.” [E&E, 5/25/10]


The Murkowski Amendment “Has The Potential to Handcuff U.S. EPA” From Regulating Carbon Emissions. “But a possible amendment from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has the potential to handcuff U.S. EPA from exercising its full regulatory power, a scenario that has sent shockwaves through the environmental community. The amendment to EPA's fiscal 2010 spending bill would allow the agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions only from mobile sources and prohibit it from regulating heat-trapping emissions from stationary sources like power plants and industrial facilities. The limits would be in place for one year.” [New YorkTimes, 9/22/09]


  • Headline: Murkowski Looks to Block EPA Carbon Emissions Limits [Roll Call, 12/14/09]


Top Administration Climate Adviser Warned That The Murkowski Resolution Would “Unravel” The Basis Of The EPA’s Endangerment Finding. “But the administration and several lawmakers have warned that if the Murkowski measure passes, it would unravel the agreement, setting off a string of actions that would allow California and more than a dozen other states to enforce their own auto emissions standards. “If [the Murkowski resolution] were to be successful, there is no car rule, because what sits underneath that comprehensive car rule is that endangerment finding,’ Obama's top energy and climate adviser, Carol Browner, said earlier this week.” [E&E, 2/25/10]


195 Scientists Signed a Letter Opposing the Murkowski Amendment Because of the Negative Health and Climate Impacts. In January 2010, 195 scientists signed a letter with the Union of Concerned Scientists, opposing the Murkowski amendment citing the health risks and impacts on climate change. “We—the 195 undersigned endorsers—urge you to oppose an imminent attack on the Clean Air Act (CAA) that would undermine public health and prevent action on global warming. This attack comes in the form of an amendment by Senator Murkowski to the debt limit bill (H.J.Res. 45) that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from acting on its finding that global warming endangers public health and welfare. Because the EPA's finding is based on solid science, this amendment also represents a rejection of that science.” [UCS, 1/19/10]


Narrator: Yep – even with disaster on our coast and Iran using oil money against us, Richard Burr voted to let big oil off the hook.


Murkowski Resolution

Roll Call Vote #184, 6/10/10

IranExports Body-Armor-Piercing EFPs To Iraq. U.S. military officials charged on Sunday that the highest levels of the Iranian leadership ordered Shiite militants in Iraq to be armed with sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs that have killed more than 170 American forces.” [CBS, 2/11/07]


  • Iranian-Made EFPs Have Resulted in Many American Deaths and Causalities. At a February 2007 Defense Department press conference, “officials spread out on two small tables an E.F.P. and an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades with visible serial numbers that the officials said link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories… For the first time, American officials provided a specific casualty total from these weapons, saying they had killed more than 170 Americans and wounded 620 since June 2004, when one of the devices first killed a service member.” [New YorkTimes, 2/11/07]


IranHas Supplied The Taliban With EFPs to Fight Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. In a September 2008 interview with the Telegraph, a Taliban commander said “‘There's a kind of landmine called a Dragon. Iran's sending it,’ he said. ‘It's directional and it causes heavy casualties. ‘We're ambushing the Americans and planting roadside bombs. We never let them relax.’ The commander, a veteran of 30 years who started fighting when the Soviet Union was occupying Afghanistan, said the Dragon had revolutionised the Taliban's ability to target Nato soldiers deployed in his area. ‘If you lay an ordinary mine, it will only cause minor damage to Humvees or one of their big tanks. But if you lay a Dragon, it will destroy it completely,’ he said. A "Dragon" is the local nickname for a type of weapon known internationally as an Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) or "shaped charge" and has been used with devastating effect in Iraq by Iranian-backed groups. It is shaped so that all the explosive force is concentrated in one direction - the target - rather than blasting in all directions and weakening its impact.”  [Telegraph, 9/14/08]


  • Defense Officials Say There is “Irrefutable Evidence” That Iran is Supplying Taliban Forces With EFP’s.The United States has "irrefutable evidence" that Tehran is transferring arms to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a top U.S. diplomat told CNN Wednesday, noting that NATO forces have intercepted some of the arms shipments… EFPs use components manufactured in Iran and militants are trained in Iran to use them, the U.S. military has said.” [CNN, 1/12/08]

Visual:Paid for by Americans United For Change