Mass. Transit Authority puts the brakes on ad critical of Scott Brown

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will not let critics of Republican Sen. Scott Brown run ads on their trains, a California-based environment group said Wednesday.

The group, 350.org, said it sought to run ads criticizing Brown (R-Mass.) for voting to cut funding for the Clean Air Act in April. But the MBTA decided the ad was "too controversial" for its passengers, the group said in dismay.

"Too controversial? Too controversial is voting to gut the Clean Air Act, for 40 years the bulwark of our environmental policy," 350.org founder Bill McKibben said in a statement. "Maybe the T thinks spreading that news will scare people too much--it's sweet of them to be so protective of their riders, but Brown's vote is the real horror."

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The ad, which features a picture of a smiling Sen. Brown, says "Sen. Brown: On April 6th you voted to gut the Clean Air Act.

"Was it because dirty energy companies and their corporate front groups poured more than $1.9 million into your campaign last year?," the ad said. "Are you working for people or Big Polluters?”"


The votes in question were on a series of amendments that would have weakened the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to use the Clean Air Act to regulate companies' air pollution. None of the measures managed to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, but environmental activisits are seeking to making Brown's support for them an issue in his 2012 re-election campaign. Holding a seat that had been occupied for years by Democratic icon Sen. Teddy Kennedy, Brown is a big target for Democrats in an election year when they are expected to mostly be on defense in more than 20 Senate races. 

Perhaps with that in mind, 350.org said it was not giving up on getting its message to Boston commuters. Instead, it is using an alternate form of transportation: Bicyclists will pull the billboards past tourist destinations in Boston, as well as Sen. Brown's office there.

Neither Scott's campaign nor the Boston "T" put out a comment on the ad Wednesday. 

Here's the banned ad: