Here are all of the times Sen. Cory Gardner has voted with Trump against our environment
Update 7/25/17: Senator Gardner voted to confirm David Bernhardt as the deputy Interior secretary. This is another vote against the environment, as Bernhardt’s recent clients at his lobbying firm include mining interests, energy companies and water groups. He has been called a corporate insider and a “walking conflict of interest.”
Update 5/17/17: On May 10th, the vote to move forward with repealing a rule protecting air quality from oil and gas development failed in the US Senate. However, Senator Cory Gardner voted the wrong way, in spite of Coloradans from both sides of the aisle asking him to vote no.
It’s the second week of recess for US Congress, and Colorado’s Senator Cory Gardner is home in our state to hear from constituents and tell us what he’s been up to in Washington, DC.
Unfortunately, when it comes to conservation and environmental issues, Senator Gardner has little to brag about. In fact, Gardner has voted with President Trump 93.8 percent of the time since Trump took office, both on environmental issues and everything else that’s come up in the Senate.
Here are Gardner’s votes related to the environment so far this year:
- For Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
This was in spite of hundreds of calls to his office, protests outside of his office, and social media campaigns against him. Pruitt has denied manmade climate change and is known for his many lawsuits against the EPA. Now he is the head of the agency.
2. For Rick Perry to be Secretary of Energy.
Perry’s famous slip where he forgot the Department of Energy was one of the agencies he wanted to eliminate is not even his biggest disqualifier for being Secretary of Energy. He has ignored the consensus around climate science and has many financial ties to energy companies, yet Congress approved him for the position.
3. For Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, to be Secretary of State.
Tillerson led Exxon during its long-term campaign to spread lies about climate science and deceive the public. He also has deep ties to Russia and Putin, which should have disqualified him from representing our country on the international stage. Instead, Congress voted to confirm him.
4. For Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior.
At first, Zinke seemed like the least extreme member of Trump’s cabinet. He had support from some hunting and fishing groups, and had demonstrated his opposition to public lands seizure. However, his financial backing from the oil and gas industry makes him less than suitable to manage our public lands. Recently, he’s started rolling back important land protection policies, like fair royalty payments from coal companies.
5. To undo a rule that would have made it easier for the public to influence decisions about our public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had recently made this rule to update land management processes. Both experts and the public agreed it was a much-needed step to improving management of our public lands. Senator Gardner’s vote overturned this rule and prevented the BLM from ever making a similar rule. This is an example of shutting out local voices while putting our public lands at risk.
6. To let coal companies continue polluting our streams.
His vote to repeal the stream protection rule allows coal companies to have a freer hand in dumping mining debris in streams. This debris pollutes streams with toxic heavy metals, which can have dire health impacts on the communities nearby. It was yet another move to stand up for fossil fuel companies at the expense of our health and people.
7. To roll back a rule protecting bears, wolves, and other wildlife from aerial trapping and shooting.
Undoing this rule allowed the state of Alaska to start killing mother bears and cubs as well as denning wolves and pups, using strategies that much of the public has deemed unethical.
In an increasingly blue state which Gardner won by a slim margin in 2014, he’s becoming one of the country’s least-liked politicians. Not only did Coloradans vote decisively for Hillary Clinton, but they care about the issues Gardner has attacked. The environment is a key example.
During his 2014 campaign, Gardner repeatedly claimed to be “Not That Kind Of Republican”. In order to win Colorado, he tried to separate himself from the extreme partisanship and positioning of his party. He advocated for clean energy and protecting future generations.
“What can we do to make sure we are protecting this beautiful environment?” he asked on the campaign trail. However, Gardner’s promises to be a “new kind of Republican” have proved to be empty.
On environmental issues, Gardner’s track record leaves much to be desired. Despite his efforts to portray himself as a Westerner who values public lands and protecting our future, his voting record tells the truth.
At the same time, Gardner still claims to love the environment. In February, he and Senator Bennet introduced a package of public lands bills designed to fix a couple of tiny issues with Colorado’s public lands. These bills would affect a grand total of less than 1,000 acres of public lands — out of 24 million acres in Colorado. Although Gardner says he’s “proud” to work on bills like this “that will ensure future generations of Coloradans are able to enjoy our state’s natural treasures,” these bills are a distraction from his anti-environmental onslaught.
Gardner still could redeem himself and vote in line with Coloradans’ values. He can stand strong against President Trump’s slash-and-burn budget. More than 11,000 Coloradans work in federal agencies related to science and the environment. That’s everyone from solar researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to enforcement officials at the EPA, to Bureau of Land Management field officers. Senator Gardner needs to stand with these Coloradans and vote against the job cuts embedded in Trump’s budget.
We must continue to tell Senator Gardner that Coloradans don’t want to see him siding with Trump. Especially for issues like the environment, which he campaigned for and claims to support, Gardner needs to vote with his constituents.