LCV’s “Our Lands, Our Vote” Campaign Launches Digital Ads Holding Rep. Comstock Accountable for Budget Cuts to Parks, Other Environmental Priorities

Sep 21, 2017

One week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill that slashes funding for several environmental priorities, the League of Conservation Voters launched a $50,000 digital ad campaign holding Rep. Barbara Comstock (R, VA-10) and seven other members of Congress accountable for their votes.

Comstock supported the appropriations bill, H.R. 3354, which makes unacceptable funding cuts to the National Park Service and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, while containing a slew of harmful anti-environmental policy riders. The bill also cuts more than $500 million from the Environmental Protection Agency – which wasn’t radical enough for Comstock, who also voted for a failed amendment to slash an additional $1.9 billion from the EPA and implement President Trump’s requested 31 percent cut.

“Virginians pride themselves on our state’s unparalleled natural beauty, which attracts thousands of tourists each year, and we count on members of Congress to do the right thing when it comes to safeguarding our public lands and protecting our clean air and water,” said Michael Town, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “Rep. Comstock has betrayed the trust of Virginians by voting to gut funding for our parks and programs that keep our air and water clean. Constituents in the 10th District won’t take this attack on our environment lying down.”

LCV released a poll in August showing that funding cuts to the EPA and to developing clean energy technologies are just as unpopular as the disastrous Republican healthcare bill in Virginia’s 10th congressional district. An overwhelming majority of Comstock’s constituents (59%) opposed Trump’s proposed cuts to EPA funding and said they would be less favorable to her if she supported them, as she did last week.

“With President Trump leading the most anti-environment administration in our history, we need Congress to protect our public lands and boost funding for the EPA – but instead, the House passed a bill that threatens our outdoor recreation economy, clean air, and clean water,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “Members of Congress who refuse to stand up to this radical agenda should know that their constituents are listening and will hold them accountable for putting corporate polluter profits ahead of our families.”

The bill generated bipartisan opposition. Its attacks on environmental priorities include:

  • Drastic cuts to parks and programs that protect public lands, including a 32 percent cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a $64 million cut to the National Park Service.
  • A more than $500 million cut to the EPA, while hurricanes Harvey and Irma have highlighted the need for a robustly-funded EPA to protect communities from pollution in our waterways and from industrial facilities.
  • Provisions to prevent federal agencies from recognizing the costs of climate change by accounting for the economic impact of carbon pollution and taking commonsense steps to reduce methane emissions.
  • Cuts to the EPA’s Environmental Justice Program, which helps low income and minority communities overcome the disproportionate impacts of exposure to hazardous pollution and environmental contamination that have historically plagued these communities.
  • Several other anti-environmental policy riders, including measures that would allow the Trump administration to bypass the law and hide from the public the EPA’s repeal of drinking water protections for 117 million people; to delay and weaken smog standards that protect clean air; and to eliminate protections for endangered species such as the Gray Wolf.

 The ads are running on Facebook in the 10th district, starting today.

LCV’s “Our Lands, Our Vote” campaign has been engaging people across the country to stand up for our public lands and waters since launching in June. Just this week, the Trump administration continued its assault on our public lands when reports surfaced that Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended the biggest rollback of protected public lands in our history.