TIME Environment

Republicans Make Hay from Obama’s ‘War on Coal’

Not even 24 hours after the Obama administration announced new EPA rules, the National Republican Senatorial Committee was set to roll out robo-calls Tuesday attacking Democratic senators in energy-rich states

Not even a day after the Obama administration announced proposed new regulations to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions at power plants, Republicans had already planned a new offensive, using the new rules to hammer vulnerable Democrats in states across the country in a bid to retake the Senate.

On Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is set to roll out robo-calls in energy-rich states Virginia, Louisiana, Colorado, and Alaska to target four incumbent Democrats in tight races for re-election.

Swing voters in those states will hear variations of this message: “Yesterday President Obama announced new costly environmental regulations. It’s all part of his radical energy plan, which he said would make electricity rates “skyrocket.” Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the new EPA regulations will increase electricity prices and kill thousands of jobs.”

The RNC released a web video Monday morning accusing Obama of continuing a “war on coal,” while Speaker of the House John Boehner called the plan “nuts.”

“Democrats like Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, John Walsh, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Pryor, Mark Udall, Bruce Braley, Gary Peters, Mark Warner, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Natalie Tennant all claim to be independent Democrats who stand up to President Obama yet it turns out they are completely ineffective and we will be reminding voters of that throughout the summer and fall,” said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen.

Democrats acknowledge that the new rules will make it more difficult to compete in a number of coal-country House districts, but argue their impact won’t be felt nearly as much in less parochial—and more consequential—Senate races.

Several of those Democrats are publicly breaking with the White House over the proposal, a move the White House expected. “While it is important to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, this should not be achieved by EPA regulations,” Landrieu said in a statement. “Congress should set the terms, goals and timeframe. Greater use of natural gas and stronger efficiency measures adopted by the industry have already helped us reduce carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 20 years, and this should continue. I will work with leaders of both parties to build on the progress we have already made.”

Others are trying to turn the issue around on Republicans: In Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall is firing back at Republican Rep. Cory Gardner’s attacks.

“The Pentagon says climate change is a threat to America¹s military infrastructure and global stability. Yet Congressman Gardner voted to ban the Department of Defense from taking crucial steps to protect our nation in a changing world,” said Udall spokesperson Chris Harris. “Droughts, wildfires, floods, heat waves and storms are driving up the price of groceries, hurting our economy and costing our state billions each year. Gardner’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the facts of climate change is out-of-touch with mainstream Coloradans and will put our state at risk.”

Asked if the President was concerned at the adverse impact on Democrats seeking re-election, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the benefits would speak for themselves — eventually. “The President thinks this is the right thing to do,” he said. “And he’s confident that there will be significant benefits to our health, public health, and to our economy as the years pass.”

The NRSC call scripts:

VA:

Hi, this is ____ calling on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Yesterday President Obama announced new costly environmental regulations. It’s all part of his radical energy plan, which he said would make electricity rates “skyrocket.” Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the new EPA regulations will increase electricity prices and kill thousands of jobs. It’s not surprising Mark Warner stands by Obama’s costly regulations, because he stood with liberal senators in support of a plan that would have imposed a radical cap-and-trade plan on Virginia. A cap and trade agenda that one study said could increase gas prices in Virginia by 64 cents a gallon. Tell Mark Warner higher gas prices and new EPA regulations, just don’t make sense for Virginia.
Paid for by National Republican Senatorial Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202-675-6000. 425 2nd St NE, Washington, DC 20002.

CO:

Hi, this is ____ calling on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Yesterday President Obama announced new costly environmental regulations. It’s all part of his radical energy plan, which he said would make electricity rates “skyrocket.” Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the new EPA regulations will increase electricity prices and kill thousands of jobs. It’s not surprising Mark Udall stands by Obama’s costly regulations, because he lobbied other senators to support a radical cap-and-trade plan that would have increased Colorado energy prices and hurt jobs. Tell Mark Udall higher electricity costs and new EPA regulations, just don’t make sense for Colorado.
Paid for by National Republican Senatorial Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202-675-6000

LA:

Hi, this is ____ calling on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Yesterday President Obama announced new costly environmental regulations. It’s all part of his radical energy plan, which he said would make electricity rates “skyrocket.” Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the new EPA regulations will increase electricity prices and kill thousands of jobs. So why has Mary Landrieu given hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-energy Democrats? Landrieu even claims that she and Harry Reid are a team, even though Reid says “Oil makes us sick”? Tell Mary Landrieu that this war on American energy just doesn’t make sense for Louisiana.
Paid for by National Republican Senatorial Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202-675-6000

AK:

Hi, this is ____ calling on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Yesterday President Obama announced new costly environmental regulations. It’s all part of his radical energy plan, which he said would make electricity rates “skyrocket.” Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that the new EPA regulations will increase electricity prices and kill thousands of jobs. It’s not surprising Mark Begich stands by Barack Obama’s costly regulations, because he supported the same cap-and-trade energy tax plan as Obama. A cap-and-trade energy tax could have killed almost 6,000 Alaska jobs, and reduced disposable income for Alaskan households by more than $1,200. Tell Mark Begich that higher electricity costs, less jobs and these new EPA regulations, just don’t make sense for Alaska.
Paid for by National Republican Senatorial Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202-675-6000

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