Clean Air Villain of the Month

February 2002


(Washington, D.C. February 5, 2002) - The nonprofit Clean Air Trust today named Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH) as the clean air "villain of the month" for February 2002.

Strickland earned this dubious distinction by becoming the "go-to-guy in the House of Representatives for the dirty-air lobby," according to , executive director of the Trust.

O'Donnell explained that Strickland, who hails from Southeastern Ohio, has become a reliable conduit for the anti-clean air lobbying by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). NAM has ghostwritten a letter, under Strickland's signature, urging President Bush to press the Environmental Protection Agency to "reform" the New Source Review program, which is designed to make sure that refineries, electric power plants and factories don't increase emissions -- and cause added public health damage -- when they undergo major modifications. NAM wants to weaken the program so its member companies can avoid pollution cleanup.

In a February 1 memo obtained by the Clean Air Trust, NAM urged its member companies to "identify those House members" who might co-sign the letter. "Please have your contacts in those House offices contact" Strickland's legislative director, notes the NAM memo. "A quick turnaround is needed, so please try to identify signatories by COB Thursday, February 7." NAM notes there were several previous "Strickland letters" on this topic, including an August 2001 letter posted on NAM's Web site.

Maybe it's not surprising that Strickland would allow himself to be used as a lobbying tool by those opposed to clean air. According to Federal Electric Commission records, his recent campaign contributors include American Electric Power, Cinergy, First Energy, Duke Energy, and Dominion Resources -- all sued by the Justice Department for alleged violations of New Source Review.

Strickland is the second lawmaker from Ohio to earn the "clean air villain" designation. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) captured the title in April 2000 by proposing industry-sought legislation to gut clean air health standards.