U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) received a “Congressional Champion” award last week from ConservAmerica, a group formerly called “Republicans for Environmental Protection.”
“We recognized Sen. Gardner for his strong commitment to protecting the environment while also promoting the economy of Colorado, as well as for his role in founding and co-chairing the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus in the Senate,” spokesman Robert Dillon emailed the Colorado Times Recorder.
The Roosevelt Conservation Caucus is a group of Republican Senators who look at environmental problems “through a conservative, limited government lens.“
That’s also the perspective of ConservAmerica, whose motto is, “Conservation Is Conservative.”
The “About” page on ConservAmerica’s website is broken, but on a previous “About” page, found on the Way Back Machine, the organization states its “mission is to educate the public and elected officials on conservative approaches to today’s environmental, energy, and conservation challenges.”
Gardner was selected for the award by ConservAmerica’s staff and board members, said Dillon.
Democrats say Gardner is trying to greenwash himself in advance of his 2020 election. They label Gardner as an enemy of the environment who sides with Trump on rollbacks in Obama-era policies protecting air, wetlands, public lands, and more.
Progressive environmental activists are pressuring Gardner to join Colorado’s Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in pushing the CORE Act, which is the first bill in a decade to set aside new wilderness in Colorado.
It cleared the U.S. House last month but faces a difficult road in the U.S. Senate without the “full-throated support” of Gardner, reported Colorado Public Radio.
Yet, Dillon says, “Gardner is trusted and works with members on both sides of the aisle, characteristics that are essential when you’re trying to advance policies and negotiate legislative text. The Senate should be about finding common ground and developing solutions that work for the majority of Americans. Sen. Gardner exemplifies the kind of policy-maker committed to good governance that is becoming increasingly difficult to find these days.”
Multiple awards Gardner has received in recent months have come under scrutiny as being either products of conservative groups like ConservAmerica or as being given on the basis of such a narrow analysis as to diminish their meaning.
For example, Gardner often cites his fifth-highest-ranking on a 2019 bipartisanship ranking that was given without considering any of his actual votes on legislation.