MBTA rejects anti-Brown ad from environmental group

By Noah Bierman
Globe Staff / June 16, 2011

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An environmental group’s advertisement targeting Senator Scott Brown’s vote to “gut the Clean Air Act’’ has been rejected by the MBTA, which cited a policy against running political content ads in its stations.

The ban on “political campaign speech’’ is among a dozen categories of content forbidden under the T’s advertising policy, said Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

In the past, the MBTA has rejected ads promoting issues such as legalization of marijuana and a Legal Sea Foods campaign that gently mocked trolley operators, after an uproar by the Carmen’s Union.

The anti-Brown ad shows the senator in front of an orange background. It reads: “Senator 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? Are you working for people or Big Polluters?’’

The ad targeting Brown is in response to an April 6 vote in which 50 senators, including Brown, voted for a budget amendment that would have taken away the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. The measure needed 60 votes to pass.

The ad was funded by a group called, a nonprofit organization that focuses on climate change. The group planned to spend $10,000 to put up 17 ads at 10 locations, according to Molly Haigh, the group’s US communications coordinator.

The organization will instead hire bicyclists to ride around town with the ad on the July Fourth weekend, Haigh said. It is lodging a similar campaign that takes aim at Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat.

Scott Brown has also recently been targeted by the League of Women Voters, which ran a television advertising campaign this spring criticizing him on the same issue. Massachusetts Republican Party leaders filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the league, accusing it of breaking election law. His political adviser did not immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday.

Noah Bierman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.