National group defends Schuette on pollution fight

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

The Republican Attorneys General Association is rushing to the aid of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, airing a cable television ad to counter other ads portraying Schuette as a friend of corporate polluters.

Independence USA, the political action committee of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, began targeting Schuette earlier this month with a television ad airing in Metro Detroit that criticizes Schuette for suing the Obama administration over its plan to reduce greenhouse gases and promote cleaner energy production.

The 30-second TV ad features images of Schuette and smokestacks billowing carbon emissions and highlights $150,000 in campaign contributions Schuette has received from unspecified “polluters.”

The RAGA, which Schuette became chairman of Monday, is hitting back with its own TV ad set to begin airing this week on cable television stations.

The new ad focuses on Bloomberg’s funding of the ads and the former New York City mayor’s endorsement of Democratic President Barack Obama’s policies seeking to reduce the amount of coal burned for electricity production.

“The Obama/Bloomberg plan would raise your electric bills and kill jobs here in Michigan,” a narrator says in the RAGA ad.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires states to get at least 28 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. It seeks a 32 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“President Obama and the EPA are being sued because they aren't following the law -- and a liberal billionaire isn't going to stop that,” said Scott Will, executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association. “We’re proud of Attorney General Schuette and his colleagues for taking on this effort and will back them every step of the way.”

States have challenged the plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing it would drive up electricity rates paid by consumers. Last month, Schuette added Michigan to the list of states contesting the regulations, while they were embraced by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The RAGA ad then touts Schuette’s record, saying the two-term attorney general “fights Washington to save jobs in Michigan.”

Independence USA and the GOP attorneys general group both have not publicly disclosed how much they’re spending on the TV ads in Michigan.

Bloomberg’s advisers have said they will spend more than $10 million targeting the Democratic attorney general in Missouri and Republican attorneys general in Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin. Each attorney general targeted by Bloomberg’s ads are part of a 23-state lawsuit seeking to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon emissions plans.

Schuette, who is considered a likely Republican contender for governor in 2018, has portrayed his battle with Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency as a fight over the size and scope of government regulation of the economy.

“The combined forces of Big Government (Obama) and Big Money (Bloomberg) are teaming up to attack me because as your Attorney General, I am leading the fight against the Obama big government machine,” Schuette wrote in an email to Michigan Republicans last week.

“...You have to ask yourself: What will this coalition of liberal big money and government do next? Tell us what food we can eat and drink? Go after our trucks and SUVs, killing Michigan’s manufacturing jobs? They are striking at the very heart of our freedoms.”

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Detroit News Staff Writer Jim Lynch contributed.