The Colorado Sierra Club is reaching out to people driving predominantly fossil-fuel burning vehicles to suggest Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is a bad guy who's bad for the state's outdoors.
The advocacy group is spending $13,824 on five billboards — two in Colorado Springs, as well signs in Denver, Greeley and in Fort Morgan on the road to Gardner's hometown, Yuma.
The billboards will be up until the end of the year, a spokesman said.
The Sierra Club maintains that the state's junior senator "has continually broken his public lands promises to Colorado voters."
The organization notes that Gardner has introduced a bill to reauthorize of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but his heart isn't really in it. "[H]is apparent goal is not to pass full funding for LWCF, but rather to maximize the number of positive press hits he gets talking about full funding of LWCF," according to the Sierra Club. "He has put forth an amendment he knows will not get a vote and in reality does little to move the ball forward."
Gardner's bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Tuesday.
Gardner is one of the most endangered Republicans in the U.S. Senate next year, as Democrats aim to take him out in order to regain a majority in the upper chamber. Environmental groups, particularly, are hammering on Gardner, who has voiced pride in his environmental record with awards from conservation groups and conservation legislation on his resume.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses money from oil and gas leases for conservation projects on public lands and waters.
Gardner's campaign doesn't always push back on attacks, but took exception to the Sierra Club's allegation.
"The Sierra Club may be more interested in pushing false political attacks than getting things done, but they are deliberately misleading Coloradans," Gardner's spokesman, Jerrod Dobkin, told Colorado Politics in an email. "Sen. Gardner led the successful effort to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and is now leading the bipartisan effort to fully fund that program. Coloradans will look at Sen. Gardner's record and see right through the Sierra Club's lies."
In promoting a press event at one of the billboards in Colorado Springs Thursday, the Colorado Sierra Club said it would "explore why Sen. Gardner, who presents himself as a conservationist," but isn’t pushing harder to get $900 million a year for the LWCF.
“It is up to Sen. Cory Gardner to demand 100 percent permanent funding for LWCF from Congress, starting this fiscal year," John Stansfield, a conservation leader from Monument, said in a Sierra Club statement. “Congress has made disappointing decisions in previous years in regard to LWCF — diverting a large portion of this funding towards uses having nothing to do with conserving our public lands and waters. As someone who has advanced himself by identifying as a conservationist, Senator Gardner’s actions have taught us otherwise and have made it quite clear that the fate of our landscapes is not safe in his hands.”