Sierra Club says Cain ad that trounces EPA not worth response

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 11:31 am | More from The Iowa Independent

False claims on Environmental Protection Agency regulations made in a Herman Cain ad aren’t worth responding to, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club says, claiming voters are smart enough to see through political rhetoric in the ad.

“The ‘9-9-9 Plan’ is a jobs plan! It is revenue, it does not raise taxes on those in need.” -- from the donation page on Herman Cain’s campaign website (AreFlaten, Flickr)

The ad, running statewide in Iowa on FOX News Channel, features several Hawkeye State farmers saying the EPA wants to regulate methane from cattle and dust from farming operations. A spokesman for the EPA said Monday that’s simply not true.

But Steve Grubbs, Cain’s campaign chairman in Iowa, said Tuesday the campaign is more inclined to believe farmers when it comes to potential EPA regulations than the regulators themselves.

Maggie Kao, national press secretary for the Sierra Club, said she’s not surprised Cain’s campaign would run the ad.

“The fact of the matter is politicians buy ads all the time that are factually untrue,” Kao said. “I don’t think Herman Cain’s the first one to do that and I don’t think he’ll be the last. This is all to be expected from someone like Herman Cain who has complete disregard for the facts.”

Kao said most Americans would find it hard to believe that the EPA would worry about dust from farms when there are so many other concerns. She said that myth, along with the idea of regulating cow flatulence, “seems pretty far fetched to most people.”

“We’re not spending a lot of time pushing back on these myths simply because we think the American people are smarter than that and it’s a bit of an insult to even be talking about this non-issue,” Kao said.

Politicians have found it easy to put farmers against the EPA using scare tactics, Kao said. But polling shows most Americans are in favor of the work the agency does.

A nationwide survey from Public Policy Polling found support for EPA protections crosses party lines. The survey of 1,249 voters conducted in early October has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

The poll found 78 percent of people believe the EPA should protect air and water, including 62 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of independents. And 75 percent support the EPA overall, including 55 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of independents.

“It seems that there’s a very loud minority out there talking about the EPA in a negative way but that doesn’t jive with what we know from our own polling and experience talking to the American people,” Kao said.

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