ICYMI: Environmental Groups Slam Gardner & Trump For “Exploit[ing] a Pandemic” to Give Big Polluters Free Pass, Greenwashing on Public Lands

ICYMI: Environmental Groups Slam Gardner & Trump For “Exploit[ing] a Pandemic” to Give Big Polluters Free Pass, Greenwashing on Public Lands

LCV: Gardner’s “standing by as the Trump administration exploits a pandemic to let polluters spew toxins into our air and water”

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Op-Ed: “Gardner and Trump have become a toxic duo”

Denver, CO – Senator Cory Gardner is facing scrutiny from prominent environmental organizations and Coloradans for his toxic environmental record and failure to protect public lands. After the AP revealed the Trump administration let Big Oil “bypass rules intended to protect health and the environment” during the pandemic, environmental advocates slammed Gardner’s allegiance to corporate polluters:

League of Conservation Voters Action Fund:

“Senator Gardner voted to put a coal lobbyist in charge of the EPA, and now he’s standing by as the Trump administration exploits a pandemic to let polluters spew toxins into our air and water. Clearly the only thing that will stop Trump and Gardner’s anti-environmental crusade is voting them out of office this November and electing John Hickenlooper, an environmental leader who will always put Colorado first.”

Climate Power 2020:

“Cory Gardner’s silence in the face of the Trump administration’s free pass for polluters exposes just how ridiculous his self-proclaimed title as an environmentalist is. Gardner has enabled Trump’s toxic agenda at every turn by making life easier for polluters and ignoring Coloradans.”

Coloradans have broadly decried Gardner’s abysmal environmental record and failed coronavirus response. In a Grand Junction Daily Sentinel op-ed, Mesa County Commissioners candidate Kathryn Bedell roasted Gardner for his desperate attempt to greenwash his record, being “a puppet for big polluters,” and “fail[ing] to support our state, our frontline workers, and our schools.” 

Read why “Gardner and Trump have become a toxic duo” below:

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Gardner’s receipts show he’s no champion of western Colorado
By Kathryn Bedell | August 25, 2020

In a desperate attempt to boost his conservation and crisis response credentials, Sen. Cory Gardner is feverishly penning op-eds and bopping around to Colorado’s scenic outdoors for photo ops. While the glossy campaign mailers and commercials may look nice on the surface, nothing will be able to cover up Gardner’s actual ugly record.

Make no mistake, Gardner is no environmental champion, nor a leader in combating this pandemic. And we have the receipts to show it.

Gardner’s lackluster environmental record has earned him a dismal 11% lifetime score from one of the nation’s most prominent conservation groups, the League of Conservation Voters. And it was well-earned: He has pushed to loosen regulations on air pollution, refused to let science drive our national environmental policies, and supported efforts to remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

But that hasn’t stopped him from posing as a conservation warrior. The legislation that Gardner is now doing a victory lap on — to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund — is a new endeavor of Gardner’s, as he voted in other years to slash that very funding and even almost eliminate it.

While posing for photos and only taking interviews from selective media outlets, Gardner conspicuously omits that he has failed to designate any new Colorado wilderness, a longstanding tradition of Colorado’s Senate delegation.

And it wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Gardner has refused to join Sen. Michael Bennet in supporting the bipartisan Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, the decade-in-the-making bill with widespread grassroots support to conserve 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado that has already made its way through the House with bipartisan support.

The CORE Act would protect Thompson Divide from oil and gas drilling, something that communities across the Western Slope have been advocating for years.

Instead of protecting our environment, Gardner’s been a puppet for big polluters.

Gardner’s anti-environmental crusade reached new heights with President Trump in office, as he has been a rubber stamp on the president’s toxic agenda that has contaminated our air and water, overseen the largest rollback of protected public lands in U.S. history, and given polluters free rein during the pandemic.

Gardner and Trump have become a toxic duo.

Fortunately, we have a champion for our outdoor recreation economy and environment on the ballot. Whether it be creating the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office or creating the “gold standard” and national model for methane regulations, time and again, John Hickenlooper shows he is a true and tested ally of our environment and outdoor economy.

And his support is not at the convenience of political winds or a hollow shell of an accomplishment like the move of the Bureau of Land Management to the Western Slope.

Don’t get me wrong, Trump’s move to relocate the BLM is welcomed with open arms, but not all that glitters is gold. We are getting a fraction of the jobs initially promised, an organization in disarray, and a leader, William Perry Pendley, who has even advocated for selling the very lands he is supposed to protect — in addition to racially tone-deaf stances.

Gardner’s refusal to oppose this anti-public lands bigot shows you everything you need to know about where his allegiance lies: with big polluters and Trump, not Colorado and our outdoor recreation economy.

But Gardner did get something right: Our great outdoors is a key to our economic recovery from this devastating pandemic. But what he fails to acknowledge is that the disaster would have been milder and recovery would have been far easier if Gardner himself hadn’t enabled this economic and public health crisis.

As we all can see clearly now, the coronavirus pandemic really didn’t have to be this bad.

Gardner has been at Trump’s side — literally, they were campaigning together as the virus was already spreading through Colorado — as the president downplayed the pandemic, failed to implement a national testing strategy, and failed to support our state, our frontline workers, and our schools.

And as Grand Junction is facing record unemployment, with thousands in need of emergency unemployment benefits, and schools lacking the resources to serve our kids in the fall, we are in dire need of real leadership in the Senate to push partisan squabbling aside and deliver for Colorado.

Unfortunately, Gardner has not been that leader. Gardner shows up for the photo ops, but fails to deliver when Coloradans need him most.

Trailing out of his pocket is a long receipt of anti-conservation actions and pandemic inaction. Sen. Gardner is making sure that his time in the Senate will be short.

###