Conservative Group Drops W.Va. Ads Against Rahall

American Energy Alliance will instead help families cope with chemical spill.

Fairly or not, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is being labeled anti-coal as he gears up for re-election.
National Journal
Amy Harder
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Amy Harder
Jan. 13, 2014, 7:56 a.m.

The con­ser­vat­ive group Amer­ic­an En­ergy Al­li­ance is pulling TV and ra­dio ads at­tack­ing Demo­crat­ic Rep. Nick Ra­hall of West Viri­gin­ia as the Moun­tain State struggles to get safe wa­ter back to al­most 300,000 people — more than 15 per­cent of its pop­u­la­tion — after a chem­ic­al spill last week.

“Giv­en the more press­ing con­cern fa­cing West Vir­gini­ans as a res­ult of the re­cent chem­ic­al spill in the Elk River, the Amer­ic­an En­ergy Al­li­ance is pulling our three-week ini­ti­at­ive to pro­mote ac­count­ab­il­ity for Rep. Nick Ra­hall over his vote to sup­port a car­bon tax,” said AEA Pres­id­ent Tom Pyle.

He went on to say that the group, which is backed by fossil-fuel com­pan­ies and the con­ser­vat­ive Koch broth­ers, will in­stead help the state’s res­id­ents. “While we re­main staunchly op­posed to a car­bon tax and com­mit­ted to hold­ing pub­lic of­fi­cials ac­count­able, now is not the time for this ad­vert­ise­ment. Our ef­forts in the next sev­er­al weeks in West Vir­gin­ia are more rightly dir­ec­ted at help­ing fam­il­ies in the af­fected re­gion.”

Ra­hall is con­sidered one of the most vul­ner­able law­makers up for reelec­tion this cycle. He is one of the last re­main­ing Demo­crats in a state that has been trend­ing red in re­cent years, due in part to tough­er en­vir­on­ment­al reg­u­la­tions tar­get­ing coal, a bed­rock in­dustry for the state. The spill was caused by a chem­ic­al that is used to clean coal be­fore it goes to mar­ket. On Monday, West Vir­gin­ia Gov. Earl Tomblin an­nounced that the tap-wa­ter ban is be­ing lif­ted for parts of the state, ac­cord­ing to AP.

AEA spokes­man Ben Cole said they’re still de­cid­ing wheth­er they will run this par­tic­u­lar ad against Ra­hall in the fu­ture, or wheth­er they will air a dif­fer­ent one once the state re­cov­ers from the chem­ic­al spill.

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