Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NJ enviro group ads to target wayward GOP moderates

Environmental organizations are more accustomed to raising money than spending it, but Trenton-based Environment New Jersey is breaking new ground with a five-figure advertising campaign that focuses public attention on the trending votes of three Republican congressmen from New Jersey.

No, the organization is not going after veteran Scott Garrett (R-5), who almost always votes against pro-environment legislation, or newcomer Jon Runyan (R-3) who appears to be traipsing down the same path.

Instead, they're targeting friends-three members of the state's congressional delegation who formerly could be counted on to support legislation endorsed by the environmental community

The three little lambs who have gone astray are: Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11). 

The trio is being singled out for "three recent votes that threaten public health by undermining clean air and allowing more air pollution," according to Environment New Jersey's field director Doug O'Malley.   

The bills are:
  • The “TRAIN” Act, which O'Malley says would indefinitely delay the clean-up of toxic power plant pollution; 
  • (H.R. 2681) which would block clean air standards that lower mercury and other toxic air pollution from cement plants; and 
  • (H.R. 2250) that would prevents the imposition of new standards to reduce toxic pollution from industrial incinerators and boilers at power plants. 

O'Malley contends that the TRAIN Act alone, if passed, could result in 139,500 lives lost due to smog, soot, and toxic air pollution. The health benefits delivered by the incinerator and boiler standards are as high as $54 billion annually, and the health benefits from cement standards will be as high as $18 billion annually, he says.

Environment New Jersey isn't saying exactly how much they'll be spending on the ad campaign or where the money is coming from but O'Malley says the media buys will target "the state's largest web-sites – including nj.com – with banners targeting hometown voters in all major newspapers, a homepage takeover of PolitickerNJ, sponsorship of the “Wake Up Call” e-mail newsletter and targeted Google ads. 

The ads will run for a week.  

We find this to be an interesting departure from the usual press-release and photo-op-demonstration approach favored by environmental groups.

But will it be effective? Can it bring the lambs back in line? Will it provide green-leaning Republicans with ammo they can use the next time the party's right-wing apparatchik demands a vote that offends enviros? 

Tell us what you think in the opinion box below.    

Rosi over at Blue Jersey sent along this link to their post today in which Adam L. scoffs at the use of the term "moderate" when applied to Republican congresspeople. Thanks, Rosi, for also correcting our original misspelling of Mr. Runyan's name. 

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