Koch-Backed Group Says EPA Joins CIA in 'Torture'

A conservative, pro-fossil-fuels group is out with a provocative claim: EPA tortures too. With climate-change regulations.

The American Energy Alliance is likening the Obama administration's fossil-fuel regulations to the practices detailed in the Senate's CIA "torture" report.

A cartoon from the AEA depicts Uncle Sam being crushed by a huge book titled EPA Torture Report, Volume IV, a reference to the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory work under President Obama.

Also on the book cover are anti-EPA phrases like "raising energy costs" and "killing jobs." A blurb accompanying the cartoon attacks rules to limit carbon emissions from power plants and smog, adding it's "clear that the CIA isn't the only government agency engaged in torture."

"At least the CIA isn't torturing Americans," it adds.

The AEA, which ran ads attacking Obama in his 2012 campaign and strongly opposes his energy policies, is widely reported to be supported by the Koch brothers. The group is highly active in Beltway policy battles, including efforts to kill long-standing tax credits for wind-power projects.

The cartoon, published Friday, rocketed around Twitter on Monday and is drawing criticism from environmentalists. The League of Conservation Voters has launched a Facebook petition attacking the AEA cartoon. "The EPA is working to improve our public health and save American lives, and to liken it to torture in a cartoon is disgusting," it states.

An AEA spokesman defended the post, which equates EPA's regulations with the subject matter of a controversial report released by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats last week. The report described the CIA's use of techniques including waterboarding, "rectal rehydration," and sleep deprivation in the years following the 9/11 attacks.

"Our cartoon is appropriate. I think it highlights the problems and the harmful impacts of EPA regulations," AEA spokesman Christopher Warren said. "At the end of the day, it is a political cartoon to raise awareness about EPA."