Gimme that sweet, sweet crude: Green group says lawmakers are oil addicts

Rep. Joe Barton and two other leading House lawmakers are suffering from a potentially lethal addiction, according to a renewable energy advocacy group.

Don’t worry, though. The organization, Operation Free, says it has the perfect prescription: the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a web campaign designed to go viral, the group says Barton, R-Texas, and two other House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders have an “oil addiction disorder.” The Jib-Jab-esque video shows Barton, panel chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and John Shimkus, R-Ill., guzzling crude out of barrels wielded by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Is your member of Congress suffering from oil addiction disorder? Do they deny that oil money is funding terrorism . . . or even make friends with countries that don’t like us just to get a fix?” the video asks. “If so, there is something that can help, called the EPA.”

Depicting the EPA as an addiction-curing patch, the video warns that the medication isn’t without side effects, which can include “new energy jobs . . . and greater security at home:”

The video and web campaign comes as the EPA is under attack for a series of regulatory actions — including its recently announced plan to set new standards for greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries and power plants. Lawmakers also have assailed the EPA’s decision to take over Clean Air Act permitting in Texas, approve the use of higher ethanol blends for certain vehicles and impose new requirements on industrial boilers.

The trio of Republicans targeted by the campaign are among the EPA’s most vocal critics — so odds are good they won’t be reaching for an EPA patch any time soon.

Barton is one of the lead sponsors of a measure that would block the EPA from spending any federal money to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. That proposal, offered as an amendment to a spending bill that would fund the government from March 4 through Oct. 1, is set to get a vote in the House of Representatives later today.

The campaign doesn’t mention Barton’s EPA amendment, but it does quote the Republican’s cringe-inducing apology to former BP CEO Tony Hayward last summer.

The group behind the campaign is a coalition of  veterans organizations and other groups, such as the Truman National Security Project, that back policies to combat climate change.