Senate GOP calls on candidate to denounce 'dirty' green money

Posted by Craig Jarvis on June 10, 2014 

  • Contentious issues in TV ads

    The four senators voted to fast-track tracking: A 2013 bill that passed the Senate would have allowed fracking to begin before rules governing the industry were adopted. A bill signed into law this year accelerates the process. Both have been widely described in the news media as “fast tracking” fracking. Supporters dispute that characterization.

    Chemicals: The ads say fracking uses “toxic chemicals including benzene, silica, and formaldehyde that can cause cancer and birth defects.” Supporters say benzene is banned and not used in fracking, that silica is not a chemical and no more harmful in the industry than it is to quarry workers, and that formaldehyde is used at such a small concentration that it is not harmful. Opponents dispute all of those contentions.

The state Senate Republican caucus on Tuesday rallied behind one of its own, Sen. Chad Barefoot, who is the object of a barrage of TV ads by national and state environmental groups.

The News & Observer reported Tuesday that Barefoot, a Republican who represents parts of Wake and Franklin counties, is one of four GOP senators being targeted by a $1 million-plus advertising campaign because of their support of fracking.

Barefoot blames party politics, pointing out that his opponent in the November general election, Sarah Crawford, is married to N.C. League of Conservation Voters lobbyist Dan Crawford. The league is not one of the nine organizations that have joined with the national Natural Resources Defense Council in the campaign, but it has funded some of the groups that are, according to the GOP.

Barefoot noted that the campaign hasn’t targeted Democrats who voted for fracking.

The GOP Senate Caucus issued a statement calling on Sarah Crawford to “denounce the flood of special-interest money.”

“It’s telling that we have no idea where Sarah Crawford stands on any other issue, but she’s aggressively fighting natural gas exploration in lockstep with the special interests that employ her husband,” said Ray Martin, political director of the caucus. “Who knows what Sarah Crawford has promised these people and how she plans to do their bidding if she’s elected. North Carolina has started turning the page on a dark chapter of dirty and corrupt politics. Voters deserve answers, and they deserve better than a throwback to the warped ethics of Bev Perdue, Jim Black and Mike Easley.”

The Democratic caucus responded for Crawford:

“It looks like Chad Barefoot knows he’s in trouble with voters,” said Ford Porter, director of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“In his one term in office, Sen. Barefoot voted for massive cuts to classrooms across Wake and Franklin County and to raise taxes on working people while giving massive handouts to the wealthy, special interests, and out-of-state corporations. Then he voted to fast-track fracking, putting our drinking water at risk before basic safeguards were in place. Now, instead of being accountable for his record, Sen. Barefoot is desperate for a distraction. Make no mistake, these petty accusations are pure fantasy and more proof that it’s time for a change of priorities at the General Assembly.”     

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