Press Release

Ohio TV Ad Criticizes Sen. Portman for Siding with Polluters

NRDC & Moms Clean Air Force ad raps his “Polluter Protection Plan” as a health threat to all Ohioans

Jake Thompson, jthompson@nrdc.org, 202-289-2387; or Elizabeth Heyd, eheyd@nrdc.org, 202- 289-2424

WASHINGTON (April 7, 2015) – A new statewide television ad chastises Ohio Senator Rob Portman for leading the charge in Congress to let power plants keep fouling our air with pollution that contributes to “catastrophic climate change” and leads to childhood asthma attacks.

“Senator Portman’s supposed to protect the people, not the polluters,” says the narrator in the mid-six-figure TV ad running across Ohio on network and cable channels beginning today for two weeks.

Moms Clean Air Force and the Natural Resources Defense Council teamed up to place the issue advocacy ad titled “Hold Your Breath”—featuring children wearing nebulizers—to call out the senator for an amendment to the Senate budget that he recently sponsored. His “Polluter Protection Plan” would weaken federal safeguards intended to protect the health and lives of Ohioans, and all Americans, from damaging climate change.

“It’s dismaying that Senator Portman has been fighting to keep our air dirty,” said Laura Burns of Moms Clean Air Force who lives in Mansfield, Ohio. “My children and those across our state deserve to breathe cleaner air, and their future completely depends on it. We’re ashamed our senator has refused to prioritize their health, and we call on him to start doing so now.”

Burns discussed the TV ad in a telephone press conference today and was joined by an Ohio public health professor and NRDC representatives.

“Ohioans need Senator Portman to act in the interest of children’s health, a vibrant economy and the integrity of our natural resources like Lake Erie,” said Henry Henderson, director of NRDC’s Chicago-based Midwest Program. “All of these are in harm’s way because of pollution and climate change. The senator has the ability and experience to lead the protection of those values, rather than leading the charge which puts them at greater risk.”

David Goldston, director of government affairs at NRDC, added, “Sen. Portman has tried to obscure his positions on climate action and air pollution with evasive statements and conflicting votes. But when push has come to shove, he has opposed the real steps that will clean the air in Ohio and across the country. His most recent proposal strikes at the heart of the Clean Air Act and ignores the simple fact that air crosses state lines. And it would enable power plants to continue to pump unlimited amounts of dangerous carbon pollution into our air.”

During recent Senate debate on the Fiscal Year 2016 federal budget resolution, Portman introduced an amendment that would -- for the first time since the Clean Air Act was signed into law in 1970 -- allow a state to just ignore a federal clean air requirement.

The senator’s legislative measure would allow any state to decide that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan cutting carbon pollution is just optional. That would dismantle efforts to cut carbon pollution and the other pollutants that are emitted with it, and would set a precedent that would undermine all efforts to clean the air.

Contrary to Portman’s concerns, setting a strong carbon pollution standard could benefit Ohioans significantly. If Ohio emphasizes energy efficiency strategies to reduce carbon pollution, the state could cut 32 million tons of carbon pollution out of Ohio’s air, create 8,600 efficiency-related jobs installing energy efficient machines and systems, and save Ohio households and businesses $903 million on their electric bills in 2020. More information is here: http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution-standards/files/cps-state-benefits-OH.pdf

Furthermore, the majority of Ohioans are ready to fight climate change and advance clean energy. Recent bipartisan polling shows that, on climate change, a majority of Ohioans—58 percent—support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Moreover, overwhelming legions of Ohioans—84 percent—support the state developing its own plan to reduce carbon pollution and increase clean energy, according to the poll, which was released by NRDC. More on the poll here: http://www.nrdc.org/media/2015/150312.asp.

In Ohio, the Clean Power Plan would save 2,800 lives and prevent 760 hospitalizations from 2020 to 2030, according to a 2014 analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health. Nearly two million Ohioans suffer from asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases, including 270,000 asthmatic children in 2013, according to the American Lung Association.

Climate change, driven by rising carbon pollution, leads to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, or the pollutant smog, which aggravates asthma and other respiratory ailments.

*The text of the “Hold Your Breath” TV ad follows:

“Try to hold your breath this entire message.

“Ready, go.

“Senator Portman led the charge in Congress last month to allow power plants to keep polluting our air.

“Pollution which is not only one of the major causes of catastrophic climate change, but also leads to childhood asthma attacks.

“And, if you want to know what that feels like…

“Now you do.

“Because while you can start breathing normally again, they can’t.

“Senator Portman’s supposed to protect the people, not the polluters.”

*For a streaming version of the Portman ad, please click here:  http://youtu.be/OQ3PuCRm_Mg

*For a high resolution version of the ad: http://www.crewcuts.com/client_login
Username: nrdc; Password: mix

*For a new blog by Pete Altman, NRDC’s Climate Campaign director, on the impact of Sen. Portman’s measure on Ohioans’ health, economic benefits of curbing climate change and where the Ohio public stands on climate action, please click here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/paltman/nrdc_ads_hit_senator_rob_portm.html

*For a blog about Sen. Portman’s opportunity for climate leadership by Henry Henderson, NRDC Midwest Program director, please click here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/hhenderson/senator_portman_should_side_wi.html

*An audio recording of today’s telephone press conference will he here:
http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/nrdc/portmanpollutionad.mp3

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