[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/13/art.graham.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Lindsey Graham is being attacked by a $250,000 ad campaign."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - An interest group supported by energy companies is attacking Sen. Lindsey Graham in his own backyard over his willingness to support cap-and-trade legislation.
The Republican has been collaborating with moderate senators to put together bipartisan energy legislation that would link a cap-and-trade program to expanded nuclear energy production and offshore oil and gas drilling. But many in Graham's party view a cap-and-trade program as a tax on energy companies that would be passed along to consumers.
Now the American Energy Alliance, a group funded in part by oil and gas companies that back offshore drilling, is launching a week of radio ads in South Carolina accusing Graham of supporting policies that will weaken the state's already suffering economy.
"So why would Senator Lindsey Graham support new energy taxes called cap-and-trade that will further harm our economy and kill millions of American jobs?" a narrator asks in the radio spot, which went up Thursday. "If that wasn't bad enough, Senator Graham's new energy taxes will have all of us paying more at the pump for a gallon of gas while seeing a 53 percent jump in electricity bills. Who can afford that in this economy?"
The quarter million dollar campaign against Graham will also include television and online ads in the coming weeks.
While he has made efforts to get fellow Republicans on board by advocating for provisions to increase nuclear power and offshore drilling, Graham has not signed onto the leading climate change bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Barbara Boxer.
His office released a statement Thursday that focused on the Senator's support for nuclear energy and offshore drilling but made no mention of cap-and-trade.
"Energy independence will be a 21st Century job creator in South Carolina," Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop said. "Few states would benefit more from energy independence than South Carolina."