- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2009

Former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental coalition began airing radio ads Wednesday, targeting a small group of lawmakers that will weigh the fate next week of a divisive plan to cap carbon emissions.

The Alliance for Climate Protection is lobbying for the sweeping House climate bill with ads in states that likely would be hardest-hit by the legislation, including Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

The group also is focusing on members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and environment subcommittee, which will take the first crack at the climate bill next week.

While supporters of a plan to cap carbon emissions and create a market to trade pollution permits stormed in at the start of the year with a goal to pass legislation by the end of the year, momentum has stalled significantly on Capitol Hill.

President Obama is a steady supporter of a cap-and-trade plan, but has let Congress take the lead in shaping the plan.

The House plan, introduced by Democratic Reps. Henry A. Waxman of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts two weeks ago, is the first tangible measure being debated on Capitol Hill and has been put on an accelerated schedule for when lawmakers return from the Easter recess next week.

Environmentalists and cap-and-trade supporters have hinged much of their argument on the promise of “green” jobs, which they say would replace many of the jobs that likely would be lost in energy-intensive industries, such as manufacturing and other sectors that would bear the cost of the carbon cap.

“If we repower Ohio with clean energy, it will jump-start our economy, reduce carbon pollution, break our dependence on foreign oil and create 80,000 clean-energy jobs in new industries for Ohio workers,” a narrator says in an ad airing in Ohio.

The ads are set to run through next week, the first week lawmakers will be back in Washington and debating the Waxman-Markey climate bill. A spokesman for Mr. Gore’s group would not say how much the ad buy was for, only describing it as “robust.”

The group has targeted moderate Democrats and Republicans, including Rep. Mary Bono Mack, California Republican; Rep. Gene Green, Texas Democrat; Rep. John Barrow, Georgia Democrat; and Rep. Baron P. Hill, Indiana Democrat.

• Tom LoBianco can be reached at tlobianco@washingtontimes.com.

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