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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 6, 2009
CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384

Liveblogging the Senate on Clean Energy
Sierra Club Will Catalogue & Respond to Lies, Mistruths, and Distortions by Defenders of Dirty Energy in Real-time as Senate Action Begins

Washington, D.C.—The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will tomorrow begin formal work on a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan.  The Sierra Club will revive its Broken Record Project in order to respond to attacks on the plan in real-time.  The Project previously chronicled the efforts of polluters, global warming deniers, and other defenders of dirty energy during the House Energy & Commerce Committee's April proceedings on the American Clean Energy & Security Act.

"We know that some people will say anything—and we do mean anything, to stop Congress from passing a clean energy jobs plan," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director.  "Opponents of clean energy and their allies in the House pulled out every scary number and fear-mongering falsehood they could in order to try and stop progress.  We know we'll have to redouble our efforts to make sure polluters don't prevent us from moving an even stronger bill through the Senate."

Liveblogging

The Sierra Club will be liveblogging tomorrow's hearing, as well as subsequent Senate hearings and markups on the clean energy jobs bill, on the Club's Compass blog: www.sierraclub.org/compass.

Live Tweeting

The Sierra Club has also launched a new Twitter feed, @SierraClubLive, to cover tomorrow's hearing and other live news event.  Tweets will feature the #brokenrecord and #ACES hashtags.

Daily Preview and Wrap-up Press Releases

A preview of tomorrow's action is found below.  A daily preview and release wrapping-up the day's highlights (and lowlights) will follow on each day of legislative action as the Senate continues its work on a clean energy jobs plan in the weeks and months ahead.  News releases can be found at: www.sierraclub.org/pressroom.

Preview of July 7, 2009 Senate EPW Hearing—Gov. Haley Barbour & Dirty Energy

Tomorrow's opening hearing will feature testimony from key Obama administration officials EPA Administrator Jackson, Energy Secretary Chu, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.  Also testifying for the majority will be Braddock, Pennsylvania Mayor John Fetterman, and representatives from Dow Chemical and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Testifying for the minority will be Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, current chairman of the Republican Governors Association and past chairman of the Republican National Committee.  Barbour has a long history of ties to Big Oil, dirty power companies like the Southern Company, and other polluters.  Here are three quick facts to bear in mind while listening to his testimony:

 Barbour has personally taken nearly $2 million in campaign cash from Big Oil: The oil & gas and utility industries were major contributor to his Mississippi gubernatorial campaigns, providing over $1.8 million in campaign cash. [National Institute on Money in State Politics, Accessed 7/2/09]

 Barbour brought in tens of millions from polluters while RNC chairman: Under his RNC leadership during the 1994 and 1996 election cycles, the oil and gas industry donated $30 million in contributions to Republicans, while providing only $12 million to Democrats or nearly 3-1. Electric utilities donated nearly $10 million, and coal companies donated over $1.5 million, for a grand total of $42.0 million dollars. [Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 7/2/09, 7/2/09, 7/2/09]

 Barbour has close ties to Southern Company: Barbour was once a lobbyist for the dirty power company and has continued to maintain close ties to one of the most powerful polluters in Congress. Barbour hosted a Southern Company party for lobbyists at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Southern was the top spending special interest that attempted to influence the debate over House the American Clean Energy and Security Act. With a force totaling 63 lobbyists, Southern was nearly twice as high as any other company. Its coal fired power plants emit 172 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. [Politico, 8/12/08; Center for Public Integrity, 7/1/09; IPS News, 11/16/07]

For more research on Barbour from the Center for American Progress, please visit:
http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/07/06/dirty-energy-barbour/

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