The Sierra Club will keep up the heat on U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, it's clear.
After rolling out five critical billboards around the state — including along the main road to the incumbent Republican's hometown, Yuma — the environmental advocacy organization announced Tuesday that it has another $150,000 in TV ads on network stations in Colorado Springs, Denver and on the Eastern Plains to run through Dec. 20.
Though Gardner professes his support for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Democrats and aligned environmental groups don't believe him, criticizing him on what would otherwise be deemed a conservation win for the embattled senator. Tuesday, the group called Gardner's environmental effort "all sizzle and no steak."
Gardner is the lead sponsor of the LWCF funding bill pending in Congress.
“Sen. Gardner sits in the majority in the Senate, sees himself as a leader in his party, so there is no good reason for him not to get full funding completed by the end of this year," said Emily Gedeon, conservation program director for the Colorado Sierra Club. "He puts himself out as an ardent conservationist, but talk is not enough, and he needs to be calling on Senate leadership to get this done.”
The organization said in a press release, "While Sen. Gardner has introduced a bill on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), his apparent goal is not to pass full funding for LWCF. The full funding for FY 2020 is not a priority in his efforts."
Gardner defenders say his opponents are trying to gaslight voters into believing something about the senator and the environment that's not true.
"The Sierra Club may be more interested in pushing false political attacks than getting things done, but they are deliberately misleading Coloradans," Gardner campaign spokesman Jerrod Dobkin told Colorado Politics. "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."
The LWCF puts millions of dollars in the public lands and waters every year, using money from oil and gas leases. The Trump administration has curtailed the spending and made moves to eliminate it, despite a long backlog of projects.
The Sierra Club's ad features Fran Silva-Blayney, a Colorado Springs mother, angler and conservationist.
"Sen. Cory Gardner said he would get full funding for our federal lands," she says in the ad. "But Congress still diverts half the money away from our parks and open spaces."
Watch the spot by clicking here.