Energy & Environment

NRDC hits Illinois Republican over climate vote

The Natural Resources Defense Council on Tuesday became the latest environmental group to hit Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) for his recent vote against a climate rule in the Senate.

In June, Kirk voted against an amendment that would have allowed the Obama administration to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rule for power plants. The vote effectively blocked the rule in a Senate appropriations bill.

{mosads}“This vote in the Senate was the critical point, at this time, whether senators support moving ahead or are going to try to block or undermine action, it was that simple,” NRDC government affairs Director David Goldston said. “Sen. Kirk knew that this was a critical vote, knew that people would be watching, and chose to vote the wrong way.” 

The NRDC said it is launching a $1 million ad buy highlighting the vote and its impact on public health. 

“Pollution from power plants is not only one of the leading causes of catastrophic climate change,” the ad said. “It leads to childhood asthma attacks.”

Kirk is one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in the 2016 cycle. Though he was once viewed favorably by green groups for his positions on climate issues, they’ve since lined up to knock him for his vote against the Clean Power Plan. 

Besides the NRDC, the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club have launched ads based around his June vote.  

“Kirk’s vote is out of line with the issues he has historically championed in the past and are important to the people of Illinois he’s supposed to represent,” said Henry Henderson, the director of the NRDC’s Midwest Program.

Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl said the senator has worked to “reduce carbon emissions, protect against air pollution and enact aggressive measures to protect our great lakes from polluters and oil spills.”

“The recent partisan attack ads by D.C. special interest groups, the same groups that once praised Sen. Kirk’s work to protect the environment, are not only false but sickening, beyond the pale of reasonable discussion and should be taken down,” he said. 

This post was updated at 1:20 p.m.

Tags 2016 Senate elections Clean Power Plan Illinois Mark Kirk National Resources Defense Council

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