Under the Dome

Environmentalists step up ad campaign supporting carbon emission reductions

The League of Conservation voters is expanding its ad campaign urging people to press U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to end his opposition to new federal clean-air regulations.

The organization said Tuesday that it is now spending $640,000 on broadcast TV and digital advertising. In July, it announced it was spending $100,000 on a pair of TV ads airing on satellite.

The new push expands the effort to include additional ads and “activities” from the League of Conservation Voters and Climate Action N.C., described as a project of the national group. The ads will run in the Triangle.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration has taken a position against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon emissions reduction plan, calling it a costly federal overreach. The state’s environmental regulators are preparing a limited plan in order to prevent the EPA from taking over North Carolina’s goals to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

The administration thinks the EPA action should be suspended until pending lawsuits are resolved.

Environmental groups dispute that the new EPA regulations will increase utility costs, and contend that they would actually reduce home electricity bills. In addition, environmentalists point out that cleaner air means fewer premature deaths and asthma, and saves in health-care costs.

Becca Glover Watkins, Burr’s communications director, responded to the ad campaign by email:

“North Carolina is a leader in transforming its energy sector with the passage of the Clean Smokestacks Act in 2002 and has already reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 20 percent. This ad is an irrational attempt to distort Senator Burr’s record.

“The President expects North Carolina families to pick up the tab for his pet energy projects, which raise the cost of energy for Americans everywhere. One-size fits all federal regulations from Washington only hurt North Carolinians, substantially raising the cost of heating and lighting their homes. Sen. Burr listens to North Carolinians to inform him on the issues for the state, not Washington.”

Kara Carter, press secretary for the state GOP, issued this response to the ad campaign:

"These radical out-of-state environmentalists should use the money they're spending to attack Richard Burr and other state leaders as a down payment on the higher power bills North Carolinians will see because of the EPA's costly new regulations."