GOP senator: Anti-fossil fuel candidates ‘not fit’ for federal office

GOP senator: Anti-fossil fuel candidates ‘not fit’ for federal office

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation McConnell: Next coronavirus bill will be final COVID-19 package Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (R-Colo.) on Thursday told an oil group that candidates who oppose fossil fuel production on federal land are “not fit” to hold office. 

“We have leaders who are saying irresponsible things, like we will have no more production on public lands,” Gardner said at a Colorado Oil and Gas Association meeting.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It's irresponsible, and I think anybody who refuses to reject statements like that are not fit for statewide office in Colorado and are not fit for federal office in Washington, D.C.”

The statement comes as environmental groups and some liberal lawmakers rally around the “Keep It In The Ground” movement to quickly end fossil fuel production on federal lands.

Gardner's statement puts him at odds with several Senate colleagues: eight Democratic senators, led by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Oregon GOP Senate nominee contradicts own campaign by saying she stands with QAnon MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (I-Vt.), have introduced a bill to end public fossil fuel production. 

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Van Jones: A 'white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter' can pose a greater threat to black Americans than the KKK Taylor Swift slams Trump tweet: 'You have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?' MORE hasn’t expressly endorsed the movement, and the Obama administration has rejected it time and again. 

But Clinton told an activist in February that banning federal fossil fuel production is a “done deal.” Her campaign said she supports putting the U.S. on “a long-term path to a future where there is no extraction of fossil fuels on public lands,” and the Democratic Party platform endorses phasing down that production. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday put out a report warning the federal government could lose billions of dollars in annual royalties if public fossil fuel production were to cease. Fossil fuel groups and Republicans have already seized on the report as ammunition against the movement. 

Gardner, who has endorsed Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE for president, on Thursday noted that the next president will have a lot of power to regulate energy production on federal lands. He highlighted rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department designed to do just that. 

“I worry about the cost of those of those regulations and our ability to continue business in this country and provide the jobs and opportunities we need,” he said.