'Tea partiers' target utility execs

There are enough odd-ball coalitions and bridge-building efforts in the climate bill debate that it’s tough sometimes to remember who is on whose side. But this seems unusual enough we thought we’d pass it along. The conservative groups that shouted down members of Congress at town halls last August over healthcare reform have a new target: electric utility execs.

Local chapters of the Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works plan to picket the annual meeting of the Edison Electric Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Thursday. The protestors will hold signs reading “Welcome, Carbon Crooks!” for EEI’s endorsement of climate legislation. The protests are taking place as Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), part of the trio trying to craft a climate compromise, address EEI executives.

In a news release, AFP national policy director Phil Kerpen called the legislation a “cap-and-tax bill” that would damage the economy. James Owen, a spokesman for EEI, said the group will continue to support a “well-designed, comprehensive climate change bill" despite the opposition.