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  • In this image from the ad by Sierra Club Independent Action, Rep. Dan Lungren is shown as taking $455,000 from oil companies.

Ad Watch: Sierra Club blast against Dan Lungren relies on misleading claims

Published: Saturday, Sep. 22, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 - 11:00 pm

The Sierra Club is one of the latest groups to weigh in on the contested 7th Congressional District race, airing television ads and mailing brochures hitting Rep. Dan Lungren's record on the environment. Here is the text of the TV ad and excerpts from the mail piece, followed by an analysis by Torey Van Oot of The Bee Capitol Bureau:

Narrator: These are Dan Lungren's most enthusiastic supporters (images of gas stations, oil trucks). After all, he's one of theirs. Lungren's raked in over $450,000 from big oil, and in return, voted them billion-dollar tax breaks while voting against clean air and water standards big oil is determined to eliminate. And that's pretty oily politics. Lungren might have their votes. Let's not give him ours.

Mailer: "Lungren supports dangerous offshore drilling, putting our coast at risk for a BP-like spill.

"He even voted against increasing Big Oil's liability fund, so when an accident occurs, taxpayers will be footing more of the bill."

ANALYSIS: Lungren has long been a supporter of oil drilling as part of the country's energy policy and has often opposed added environmental regulations, citing concern about the economic impact. But the ads rely on some incomplete or misleading claims to back critics' message that the Gold River Republican "protects big oil, not California" with "toxic votes."

Lungren voted against 2010 legislation that included an increase in the per-barrel tax oil companies must pay into a fund to cover the costs of cleaning up oil spills. The provision, however, was part of broader legislation on budgeting and taxes that was opposed by Republicans.

Other citations to bills he voted for are incomplete and misleading. For instance, while the Energy Policy Act of 2005 did include tax subsidies for drilling, the bill supported by Lungren also included subsidies and other assistance for wind, tidal, geothermal and other alternative energy forms.

The television ad counts contributions from oil companies made over multiple state and federal campaigns to come to the $450,000 figure. More than two-thirds of that total was given to Lungren's 1998 race for governor in which contributors were allowed to give unlimited amounts. The industry the ad calls Lungren's "most enthusiastic supporters" actually falls No. 7 in an OpenSecrets.org ranking of top industries contributing to his re-election campaigns since 2004.

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