Green Groups Go After Blanche Lincoln

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Blanche Lincoln is one of three Senate Democrats so far to officially back a GOP effort to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. And now she’s taking the heat for it: Environmental groups are gearing up in force to oppose the Arkansas senator’s campaign for reelection in November. 

The Sierra Club blasts Lincoln in new ads released in Arkansas Tuesday for “backing this Big Oil bailout”—referring to the anti-EPA measure. This is the second round of radio ads Sierra Club has launched against Lincoln, who has become a stalking horse for green groups to discourage other moderate Democrats from following her lead.

The ads come as Lincoln’s latest primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, has received an outpouring of support from the liberal netroots. Since he announced his candidacy on Monday, he has pulled in $1 million through MoveOn.org, Progressive Campaign Change Committee, Democracy for America, and DailyKos. The AFL-CIO has also pledged $3 million to his challenge. While green groups aren’t yet out campaigning for Halter, they’re expressing tentative support for him—and outright disdain for Lincoln.

“I think she’s getting what she deserves on this,” Tony Massaro, senior vice president for political affairs and public education at the League of Conservation Voters told Mother Jones. The group launched the first environmental attack on Lincoln in January, putting her atop their annual “Dirty Dozen” list of lawmakers who are sympathetic to polluters. “So far we like what we see from Bill Halter,” said Massaro, although he stopped short of endorsing him, noting that the group didn’t yet have enough information about his positions on environmental issues. The League of Conservation Voters expects to decide whether to endorse him by the end of the month. “That said,” Massaro added, “we clearly don’t want Blanche Lincoln back.”

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